World Cup: Where Philippine football went wrong

An editorial in the Philippine Daily Inquirer reflected on The Philippines' lost opportunities for World Cup action:

"All the world is going gaga over the World Cup, but the Philippines is one of the few countries that has not been caught up in the infectious enthusiasm over the games ...

Soccer was one of the popular sports in the Philippines until the late 1950s or early 1960s, when basketball began to gain popularity among the youth, thanks to the intercollegiate and inter-university contests, and later, the commercial leagues that used teams to promote and advertise their products.

Joseph Blatter, president of FIFA, recalled in an interview in January 2005 that 51 years ago the Philippines was one of the founding members of the Asian Football Confederation and was prominent in the Asian football scene. “But because of the American influence, basketball became the No 1 sport in the Philippines,” he added ...

Football is not necessarily a game for tall men (for instance, Maradona is only 5 feet 6 inches tall), and that is why it is a game where Filipinos can be competitive. Filipinos are naturally swift and fluid in their movements, graceful and very adaptive. Let us hope that with the renewed interest sparked by the World Cup, Filipinos will again take up football where they have a better chance to win than in basketball, a game for the really tall men."