Malditas vs. Matildas

This is it. This was one of those shoot-for-the-stars and get-the-moon scenarios way, way back. The members of the Philippine women’s national team under then coach Ernie Nierras some eight or more years ago decided to adopt the monicker Malditas.

There were some objections, of course, but eventually, it stuck. Besides, it resonates spunkiness and color me biased, next to the Azkals, which for me is the best national team monicker, it’s the best pairing–Azkals and Malditas.

LUCKY 13. Teammates crowd Chandler McDaniel, who scored the lone goal in the Maliditas’ 1-0 win against Thailand, the Philippines’ first win in 13 games.

Then, someone pointed out –was it our Aussie football guru Graeme Mackinnon–it would be fun if the Malditas will take on Australia, which is called the Matildas.

What a tongue-twister for the commentator it would be.

On Monday, it’s finally happening but gone is the tongue-twister. You see, it seems there are elements in the Philippine Football Federation, or maybe the women’s team management itself, that wants to shed the monicker.

A waste of time and energy if you ask me. I mean, have you had a nickname that you wanted to shed?Have you heard of a nickname that only a few knew the whole story but is still widely used? We’re Pinoys, nicknames are a whole different subcultures, a manufactured campaign to get a new one won’t stick.

Want proof? The legendary Efren Reyes, is still called Bata right in his twilight years (I doubt the commentators know what Bata means and why it was used); our presidentiables is a Ping, Bongbong, Leni and an Isko.

I wonder what prompted those who want to change it. To make the team sponsor-friendly? I bought an extra load for Smart, since I didn’t want to run out of data while watching the game (I did while watching Witcher a few days back); and I caught the second half with my favorite San Mig light, as I’m sure as did a few others. I got on the game a few minutes after the first half, after we hit the bar, and the first thing I thought was, “What a lovely jersey, I’d love to get one, especially the pink keeper’s jersey.”

I said it in 2005 and I’ll say it again. ‘MALDITAS WILL MAKE IT TO THE WORLD CUP! Call me crazy one more time

Ernie Nierras, former Malditas coach

I have new favorite No. 23, as I’m sure do many others. And an interesting tidbit shared by coach Nierras; Chandler McDaniel, who scored the lone goal, failed to make the cut in the previous Asian Cup but sure more than made up for it four years later. And what a time to score that goal, with sister Olivia making her debut at goal too.

And on Monday, it will be Malditas against the Matildas, with an added subplot to boot; our coach was acrimoniously booted out as a the Matildas coach and I’m sure that will occupy the mind of the sportswriters pre-match. But I hope the Malditas vs. Matildas story will creep in too. Not too hopeful though, given that the PFF it seems is determined to deep-six the name so they’d probably won’t share the story to the guys or gals running publicity in the AFC Women’s Cup (though I hope I’m wrong.)

But I couldn’t help but smile, though, when I saw the name of one of our players, “Bugay.” The name, literally means a maldita and it doesn’t necessarily mean something bad, it can be used in a good way.

Malditas vs. Matildas. Man, crazy dreams do come true.

Mike T. Limpag
Mike T. Limpag

Mike T. Limpag has covered the Cebu sports scene for over 20 years, starting as an 18-year-old cub reporter for the Freeman in 1997 before moving to SunStar Cebu in 2001.

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