MANILA, Philippines – Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo said the name of the Philippine national football team is here to stay, following calls for changing it in the wake of recent controversies involving its players.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Borromeo said Wednesday there is no reason to change the Azkals name, which has become a popular identifier of the country’s national football team. He recalled the origin of the "street dog" dub, saying "it's here to stay."
"That's actually our small contingency of fans back then [who thought of the name], nu'ng 2004 pa," he said. "Sa internet 'yun eh, so they thought, 'What can we call the players?'"
"It's basically, we were like street dogs, looking for scraps, picking up scraps, looking for sponsors, asking for money to support the team, because we were staying in really bad places -- no support, no nothing, and we still fought, fought hard.
"And so that's when the 'Azkals' name came about, and I think it's here to stay, there's no reason why we should change it. Thats how we started, you know, for that cause."
Earlier this week, former First Lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos had said the Azkals should consider changing their name, citing the alleged behavior of two of its players reflecting badly on the meaning of "Azkals" (street dogs).
The former first lady is referring to the alleged incident detailed in a sexual harassment complaint filed by her daughter Asian Football Confederation (AFC) match commissioner Cristy Ramos against Azkals players Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy.
Ming Ramos said changing the "Azkals" name could serve to restore the team’s dignity as the Philippines' national football team. -- With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News