Of half-bloods and street dogs, Arnold Clavio vs. the Azkals: discourses and definitions of national identity

Document Type


Publication Date



Football might not be as popular as basketball in the Philippines, but it has a loyal following. In 2012, broadcaster Arnold Clavio claimed that members of the Men’s National Team, the Azkals, were not true Filipinos. Most of the Azkals are children of Filipinos and foreign nationals, and spent their childhood abroad. Clavio’s statement prompted an online writing storm, which the researcher analyzed to examine how Filipinos constructed their identity. Analysis showed that Azkals supporters constructed the Filipino as a ‘citizen of the world’, with a dynamic identity defined by individual emotions. Clavio supporters tended to construct the Filipino as a ‘citizen of the country only’, with an identity fixed by location and acted out in culture. The debate centred on whether Filipino identity could be inherited but changed, or was fixed and immutable. These struggles raise interesting questions on national identity and unity, whether or not football is involved.