Photo credit: AFC Cup
BACOLOD CITY – Azkals mainstays and Ceres transferees goalkeeper Roland Muller and midfielder Iain Ramsay were impressive in their home debut for the Negros-based squad.
Both players were also overwhelmed with the support of the estimated 8,000 crowd in attendance at the Panaad Park and Stadium.
Iain Ramsay said that he “appreciates the support given by the crowd here in Bacolod is amazing. This is what football is all about. For the whole 90 minutes, from the start to finish, the crowd was non-stop in shouting and supporting for us.”
“The atmosphere really inspired us. Hopefully in the future we can bring the Azkals here in Bacolod.”
For Ceres veteran Manuel Ott, who also plays with the Azkals, “For me, it’s the second time I have seen this crowd. Playing here always makes me proud. The support of people here in Negros was so unbelievable. The home crowd clad in yellow really pushed us to do our best.”
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic also added that “it is amazing to play here (in Panaad). It’s a pity that the national team here do not have support in the stadium. I expect the same support from our fans in the next game.”
According to Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta, the matches of the Azkals in the Asian Cup qualifiers against Yemen on September and Tajikistan on March next year will be in Panaad because of the “positive turnout and impressive crowd support.”
Some officials of the Asian Football Confederation added that, “Panaad has always been considered as the home of the Philippine Azkals. In fact, 25,000 can fill up the stadium. The Negrenses are very much passionate about football and they know their sport. They are also hospitable those who watch their opponents. We can host football matches like the SEA Games, as long as we can add one more stadium for other preliminary matches.”