The Azkals will take on one of the top football teams from South Korea. This will mark the first time the Philippines have ever faced a South Korean football team, a country where soccer has long been the top sport for decades. ABS-CBN in partnership with Dragon Promotions will produce and air this highly anticipated match which will take place Jan. 21 in Manila at the Azkals home court of Rizal Memorial Stadium.
South Korea is the most successful Asian country in football in the history of the FIFA World Cup. South Korea has participated in eight World Cup tournaments, which is the most amount of appearances for an Asian country. It has the most organized football program structure in Asia from juniors to the pro level.
The Azkals have been getting valuable experiences with top tier football teams. Recently they just hosted the LA Galaxy with superstar legend David Beckham and they will play CF Internacional de Madrid, the third division Spanish club on January 7. The Azkals have posted up some great victories this past year over teams such as the 4-0 shutout of Sri Lanka and an upset victory over Nepal.
The January 21 game will be a great challenge to the young Azkals as they take on one of the top pro teams in South Korea from Icheon. Many members of the Icheon Korean Team have World Cup experience. The Azkals will have to be in top form in order to win this game.
But aside from the great match-up between the Azkals and Korea, their is a social responsibility goal in mind as well. ABS-CBN hopes that Filipinos and Koreans alike should see this as an opportunity for the two Asian communities to bond further.
“For a long time now the Koreans have been infused into our country. Even Koreanovelas have become a staple part of our television programming as the TV show dramas depict Koreans with an emphasis on family values and traditions, much like their Filipino counterparts. Though our language is different and countries are thousands of miles apart, we have so much in common culturally in values. This Philippines Korea football game I hope is the spark that leads to more involvement from the Koreans who have made the Philippines their home”, says Peter Musngi, Vice President of ABS-CBN Sports.
It’s estimated about 1 million Koreans reside in the Philippines.
Musngi continues, “ABS-CBN is really excited about our further ventures with Dragon Promotions in this upcoming goodwill football match. During this sad time of the floods, this event is bringing forth our Korean communities living here together along with their Filipino neighbors for a common cause to help. Even though it is a tragic situation, out of this we hope to bring our two cultures closer together. This would be a hopeful beginning of the New Year.”
The Philippines vs Korea match will be supporting the victims of the flood from Tropical Storm Washi. The flash floods devastated the southern part of the Philippines killing over 1200 people and leaving 60,000 homeless during Christmas and New Year’s. Players from both Azkals and Korea will be making appearances and appeals to the Filipino and Korean communities to rise up and support the cause. All ticket proceeds from the game will be donated by ABS-CBN to the charities helping the needy families from the disaster.
“We are really excited about our first venture into a new sport. Football is the sport of the world, and we are amazed at the growth of it in the Philippines. It literally feels like an overnight sensation due to the diligent work of the Philippine Football Federation and vast support of ABS-CBN”, said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions. Dragon Promotions is also ABS-CBN’s partner in producing major billiard events such as the Yalin Women’s World 10-Ball Championship and the Predator International 10-Ball Championship.