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Moving on: Why the PH men's football team dropped 'Azkals' name

Tom Saintfiet, new Philippine men’s football team coach

As new head coach Tom Saintfiet comes in, the Philippine men's national football team will also start a new era as they 'move on' from the 'Azkals' name.

Philippine Football Federation National Teams Director and men's team manager Freddy Gonzalez said the 'Azkals' name has served its purpose and it is time to move forward.

"Right now, we're not thinking about the moniker, we're just thinking about the matches in Iraq," Gonzalez told the media on Monday as he was referring to the next matches of the men's team in the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers.

"While the Azkals name was great, it has served its purpose and we feel like we're going to the next step of Philippine football. That's (moniker) something that we're not really thinking about but will eventually come into play either from us or from the fans," Gonzalez added.



For Gonzalez, the team will also write a new chapter in its history, thus the need to "evolve" from the previous moniker.

"It was just kind of decided that we felt that this is a new, next step, we need to move on. It made sense to call the team before, but because of the way we are organizing everything, with new management, it's time to move on from that name and evolve to something else," the men's team manager said.

"We're ready for the next evolution of the team and just leave everything in the past."

Gonzalez said that it was not about the trademark as the previous management was also willing to turn it over.

"I have a great relationship from the previous admin or management, it's nothing against them or that, it's just that it's an evolution and we need to move on and move forward."

Gonzalez also said the team would deviate from the 'half-Filipinos' concept.

"We're all Filipinos so therefore the Azkals name has no relevance anymore in the team because we're all Filipinos. No more half concept. We're one Filipinos."

The 'Azkals' became a household name as the national team had its resurgence in the 2010s, seeing memorable victories such as the 'Miracle of Hanoi' in 2010 and Asian Cup qualification in 2019.

—JMB, GMA Integrated News