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Football Helps Koreans & Filipinos Bond in The Kia Rio Cup: Azkals United vs Icheon Citizen



The Philippine Monument , in the north of Seoul, South Korea. The memorial monument was erected in 1966 to commemorate the victory of the Philippine troops in the Battle of Yultong in 1951

Manila, Philippines- On January 21, 2012 at 7:00pm in Rizal Stadium when the Azkals take to the field against the South Koreans from Icheon in the Kia Rio Cup, there will be history made. Not only because it's the first time the Azkals has faced an experienced South Korean football club, and not only because this marks the first time in over 50 years that Philippines has faced against South Koreans. And not only because Koreans living in Philippines will join in with their neighboring Filipinos in a packed sports stadium rooting for their countrymen in a football game. But history will remember this game as also when Korea came to help football grow further here, as well as a cause to help the needy. A time where the two different countries could embrace each other further.

The game bringing together Filipino and Korean football players is the brainchild of ABS-CBN Sports Vice President Peter Musngi and Dragon Promotions CEO Cindy Lee and its founder Charlie Williams. This event is also made possible by the cooperation and help of The Philippine Football Federation and sponsorship of Kia Motors.

"The Philippines and South Korea have not played for a very long time. Filipinos and Koreans should feel the patriotism in their hearts during the game. That's another reason why people are looking forward to this game. But the goodwill and charity is also in all our minds, and the combination of these factors is why I believe this event will bring our two countries further together. It could be the start of a new improved relationship between Philippines, Korea, and the Koreans living there", said Young Ki Lee, Head Coach of the Korea National Under-20 Men's Football Team and the Head Coach of the Korea National Women's Football Team. Lee is also one of the key figures in the organizing of this event along with Dragon Promotions, ABS-CBN Sports, and The Philippines Football Federation. He has been a long respected figure in Korean football.

Philippines has been known as a hot bed full of South Korean travelers and ex-pats making their home there. But Filipinos have also made careers and homes in Korea as well. Filipinos even helped South Korea in its greatest war against North Korea and China. The Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea (PEFTOK) fought in the Korean War during 1950-1953. Philippines sent 7500 soldiers and most notably during the Battle of Yultong in 1951, was described as displaying great strength and resilience. They were at the forefront of the battle, defending the democracy and integrity of their freedom-loving brethren from South Korea.

"We were very moved by what happened to the Philippines recently with the tragic floods. Even though we are coming from far away and intend to try our best to win, this is a friendly match for a good cause. We want to show that Koreans care about not only Koreans living in the Philippines, but the Fil-Koreans and also our Filipino brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter who wins, because the real victory is the improvement of our relationship with Filipinos through sports. We want to learn from Filipinos", said Hyun-Chang Lee, the Head Coach of the Icheon Citizen Football Club.

Legendary sports writer Ronnie Nathanielsz of Viva Sports noted the potential social impact of the game. "The Azkals have made a name for themselves in the public eye, strong enough to where now football is a sport that the people of the Philippines care about. Of course a Korean soccer team is going to a big challenge for the Azkals, but at the same time the outcome of the game will show the progress of Filipino football."

Nathanielsz adds, "Thousands of people flock to our football games here in Manila. I'm sure the Koreans will be there in great numbers with their vocal support, drums, and flags to support their team. But I have no doubt that the game will also enhance the relationship between Koreans and Filipinos here. I've always believed sports was the single greatest force on earth to bring countries together. And in the Philippines, between these two great nations, it will be through football."

ABS-CBN has set up its Sagip Kapamilya program to accept and distribute aid to the flood victims. They are accepting kind donations in the form of money and food which can be sent to Sagip Kapamilya ABS-CBN Foundation Inc., Mother Ignacia cor. Eugenio Lopez St., Diliman, Quezon City. More info at http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/image/public-service/12/18/11/sagip-kapamilya-operation-sendong .You may also call Sagip Kapamilya hotlines: +63 (2) 411-4995 ; +63 (0) 2- 394-9272 ; +63 (0) 917-887-4411

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