Azkals fundraiser launched
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2015 - 5:16pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals have tapped their 12th man – their fans – for help in filling the war chest for their expensive bid in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers via the “Small Change, Big Change” fundraising campaign.

Under the project, which is a partnership between the Azkals Foundation and supermarket giant Puregold, donation cans will be placed in key commercial establishments and stores where people can donate their loose change for the team after paying at the counter.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami said the campaign was inspired by comments from fans in a Facebook page who wanted to pitch in and that Puregold was the first supermarket chain to get involved.

“We’re happy that some of the fans of the Azkals have taken their support a step further and that is to actually and concretely help management in defraying some of the cost for the Azkals through their initiative,” Palami said.

Palami, along with coach Thomas Dooley and some players, joined Puregold officials led by director Vincent Co, National Operations manager Antonio delos Santos and advertising and communications manager Ivy Piedad, in the launch of the fundraiser.

“I hope a lot of fans will be able to support the Azkals in such a way especially as we embark on the World Cup qualifiers. Sigurado, mas maraming gastos at mas maraming resources ang kailangan (This campaign will entail higher cost and we’ll need more resources for it),” said Palami.

“We’re trying to fly in even better players (from overseas), we’ll have more games and more preparations para mas maganda showing natin kesa last time. Of course, our ultimate goal is to get to the World Cup. We take it one step at a time and we’re glad fans are also doing that, from the stands to this particular activity,” he added.

The Azkals will play eight home-and-away round robin matches in the World Cup Asian qualifiers beginning June, meaning going overseas four times for the fixtures.

“We spend at least $150,000 to $200,000 (per overseas trip) so for the World Cup qualifiers, we’ll have more trips and we hope more cans will be filled by the fans,” said Palami.

The “fan contributions” aim to augment the Azkals budget from Palami and financial support from the Philippine Football Football Federation and commercial sponsors.

“The team has achieved much with limited funds available and we believe it can go much farther with more funding support,” he said.

The Azkals will hold a training camp in Bahrain later this month, with one friendly likely against a Gulf nation, to start their buildup for the World Cup qualifiers.

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