MANILA -- At risk of sounding like a hipster, I have been watching football on TV for years before the entire Azkals craze. In particular, I follow the English Premier League (EPL) and also international competitions like the recent Euros.
Each of these games, the line-ups and the formation of the teams playing are often shown in the pre-match analysis of the commentators.
That’s why I always find it odd that ABS-CBN only shows the roster of players who will be playing in the match, not the formation these players would be using. It was forgivable for the first few international matches of the Azkals - after all, it was the first time they were covering football matches.
But after showing that Azkals-Guam friendly without showing the formations, this must change, as we can’t just always leave audiences to imagine whether they’ll be using a traditional 4-4-2, or a 4-3-3, and so on.
One good reason why our TV stations should show these formations is to create a foundation for a more tactical knowledge of football. After all, this game is not always just about hoofing the ball to the back of the net. Half of the fun of watching football for me is, to paraphrase a quote on a forum, watching it like a chess game between managers of teams.
And of course, teaching new fans about these formations and tactics - especially showing how the Azkals and their opponents use them against each other - will serve to intensify the demand for football.
This is not just in terms of more coverage, as people would be more interested in the sport and would want to see more of how these tactics are applied. It might also change the minds of people who currently outright dismiss the sport (and the team) by introducing them to another, more intellectual level of the sport.
Creating graphics for these formations are not hard to do, either, as there are several websites that offer a formation maker for free. A quick Google search turns up the following sites that can be used to generate an image for a football team formation:
With just a few clicks and a few minutes on these sites, any TV network can get an image that they can use to illustrate the formation before the game.
Obviously, there are advantages to showing these formations before airing a match on TV. The coverage of the EPL offers it, the 2012 Euro coverage offered it. There’s no reason why our broadcasts shouldn’t.
*I am using a very loose, colloquial definition of the word here, as someone who does things before they went too mainstream. No offense to the real hipsters out there.