If you see the players of the Philippine Azkals going around town in Kia vehicles, don't be surprised as the Korean carmaker is now the Filipino booters' official transport provider.
"We've fallen in love with the beautiful game," said Ginia Domingo, president of Kia's local distributor, Columbian Autocar Corporation. "We want to show our support to these talented young men who bring honor to the country by playing as a team and playing their best every match."
So from now on, the Azkals will only be seen riding vehicles that sport Kia's trademark tiger-nose grille. To go with the latest news about the team, updates will also be made as to which Kia vehicles the members will be in through the Azkals' official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
"We are thankful for the show of confidence from Kia, as well as from the rest of our countrymen, and now the players, team management and coaching staff are that much more motivated to train hard and give our best," said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
This isn't the first time Kia in the Philippines has been involved in local sports. Last month, the carmaker was a sponsor in the "2011 Le Tour de Filipinas," one of the region's most prestigious cycling events and the only one hosted locally.
Kia Motors has also been involved for some time in football. As a UEFA (Union of European Football Association) EUROTOP Partner, Kia Motors played an integral part in the staging the UEFA European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland last 2008. Kia also happens to be an official automotive partner of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), the world's football governing organization, which includes rights to the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and other FIFA competitions.
"Love for football and support of the Azkals is shared by both the young and young-at-heart," said Palermo Soriano, Jr., head of Kia's Marketing Services. "We are proud to support truly inspiring athletes, who have the potential to be a world-class team."
Photo of Philippine Azkals by Mikko David, photos of vehicles from Kia Motors