Team Azkal went out of the media spotlight after they were defeated by the Kuwaitis last July. Their defeat in the hands of Kuwaitis spelled the end of their fight in the FIFA qualifying rounds and also ended them being hounded by the media and paparazzi. The vacuum that was left by the Team Azkal was now filled by the Philippine Dragonboat Federation Team that recently won gold medals in a competition in America.
Is the Team Azkal disheartened because of their defeat? Will they be less motivated to practice just because the media hype died down? These are some questions that are being ask by many people now that the team will be out of the public's short-term memory. The loss of public attention should not put the Team Azkal down. What the team must do is to look at the Philippine Dragonboat Team as their inspiration to continue what they started.
Team Azkal can learn many things from the Philippine Dragonboat Team and here are some of them:
1. Practice makes a strong team – some “sports analysts” commented that Team Azkal still lacks unity and that's one reason why Azkals were defeated by the seasoned Kuwaiti soccer players. This is understandable because the Team Azkal was just newly established. The Azkals should look at the Philippine Dragonboat Team as example for team unity. The paddlers became victorious becausde they were able to row their boat as if they are just one person. They were able to achieve this unity because their continuous practice made them experience hardships together, thus creating a strong bond between members. Team Azkal should also strengthen the bond between team members and they can only have achieve this by following the formula of the Philippine Dragonboat Team.
2. Continue playing even if there is no media hype – Team Azkal got the attention of the Philippine media the moment that their team was established. Reporters followed the Azkals 24 hours a day and most of their antics are shown on TV. Some of the Azkals also got tangled up with showbiz controversies that also boosted the team's popularity. What will happen to the Azkals now that the media hype is dead? The answer is that they shouldn't allow it to affect them and look for the paddlers for inspiration. The Philippine Dragonboat Team practiced and fought in many competitions without any getting any media attention. The absence of media attention and public recognition might have disheartened the paddlers but that did not prevent them from moving forward.
3. Don't let the government destroy their motivation – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) doesn't recognize the Philippine Dragonboat Team. Due to this, the paddlers never expect to receive any form of support from the Philippine government. This does not stop the paddlers to continue practicing and participating in various competitions. Team Azkal should also accept the fact that the Philippine government is not reliable when it comes to financial and even moral support.
These are few of the lessons that the Team Azkal can learn from the Philippine Dragonboat Team. I hope that the Azkals will continue to persevere even if they are not that popular anymore. What the team will experience in the next years was also experienced by the paddlers. Azkals should continue playing and follow the example of the paddlers so they will surely succeed in their goal to play in FIFA.
Please read my advice for the Team Azkal.