With the SEA Games about to start on Monday, the 20-man squad that will carry the flag on the football pitch has already been finalized. Bannering the squad alongside young standouts Chima Uzoka, Anthony Pinthus and Yrik Gallantes are Ceres center-half Amani Aguinaldo, fresh off his season-long loan spell at Malaysian Super League club PKNP and Azkals captain Stephan Schrock, citing U-22 assistant manager Ernest Nierras.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Pinthus, Michael Asong, AJ Arcilla(reserve)
Defenders: Amani Aguinaldo(over-23), Justin Baas, Edison Suerti, Mar Diano, Jordan Jarvis, Marco Casambre
Midfielders: Stephan Schrock(over-23), Christian Rontini, Yrik Gallantes, Pocholo Bugas, Jerome Marzan, Dylan de Bruycker, Dennis Chung, Griffin McDaniel, Troy Limbo
Forwards: Chima Uzoka, Jarvey Gayoso, Mariano Suba Jr.
The Philippine SEA Games football campaign starts on Monday the 25th against Cambodia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, with an 8pm kickoff. Other games on the day see Malaysia and Myanmar play the early kickoff at 4pm and Vietnam playing Brunei at 8pm in Biñan.
Provincial Legal Officer Rayfrando Diaz yesterday said the Ceres-Negros FC has started to remove their equipment from the Panaad Stadium football field, a move that can be “construed as their official and overt withdrawal from Panaad as their official home pitch”.
Diaz said the club did not communicate with the Office of the Governor about their move to remove their equipment such as players’ benches, scoreboard, and goal posts, and they were surprised about this development.
“I don’t know if it has anything to do with our action against the illegal settlers there who have no contract with the province and it was voluntary work for Ceres-Negros FC,” Diaz said.
The management of Ceres-Negros FC, however, clarified that the equipment belong to the club and they are doing a year-end inventory.
The club said that the benches, scoreboard and goalposts will deteriorate if they will leave them at the field until next year’s football season.
While there was no contract between the provincial government and the club for Panaad Stadium as the home pitch of Ceres-Negros FC, the management stressed that the previous administration has fully supported the team.
Ceres-Negros FC won the AFC ASEAN Zone Championship and its first Philippines Football League title in 2017 at the Panaad Stadium in front of the Negrense crowd.
While the Kaya – Iloilo FC managed to host two PFL home games at the Iloilo Sports Complex this year, not a single match of Ceres-Negros FC this season was played at the Panaad Stadium.
As PFL champions, the club has once again qualified for the AFC Cup and the AFC Champions League and are expected to play their home games against other qualifiers from different countries at the Panaad Stadium next year.*
DUBAI — An improved second-half performance by the Philippines was not enough as the Azkals bowed to Group A leader Syria, 0-1, Tuesday night in their joint Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup qualifying match at Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium here.
Ward Alsamh struck in the 23rd minute as the Syrians survived a late Azkals barrage for their fifth win as many matches in the group.
The win gave the Syrians an eight-point gap over China and the Philippines.
The Azkals missed golden opportunities in the second half with Angel Guirado sending a first-time shot off target in the 54th minute off a fine ball from Curt Dizon.
Substitute Mark Hartmann also sent an effort straight Ibrahim Alma in the 73rd minute after some nice interplay between Mike Ott and Iain Ramsay on the left.
The Azkals will be left ruing a missed chance to trim the lead of the Syrians in the group.
Syria overwhelmed the Philippines, 5-2, in Bacolod last September but the Azkals showed more defensive solidity this time, keeping their shape when the hosts were in possession.
But a momentary lapse in concentration led to the only goal of the match as a quickly taken free kick found Osama Omari’s run on the right. Osama’s low cross rolled past Alvaro Silva and Justin Baas before finding Alsamh who struck an unstoppable effort to the roof of the net.
The Azkals have a long break with their next match against Guam scheduled March 26 at home.
DUBAI—Surprisingly level with China at the end of the first round of matches in Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifying, the Philippines seeks payback against another powerhouse in Group A as the Azkals take on Syria anew on Tuesday at Al Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium here.
The Azkals arrived in this bustling economic hub in high spirits after their 2-1 away win over the Maldives in Male last Thursday.
But they’ll be battling a Syrian side that has won all of its matches so far, including a tough 2-1 victory over China last Thursday that kept China at seven points just like the Azkals after four matches.
Syria came from behind to drub the Azkals, 5-2, in their first round duel at Panaad Stadium last September in Bacolod City – a result that left a bitter taste for captain Stephan Schrock.
“That was a hard result to swallow that night so we’re looking for redemption,” said Schrock. “We’re looking to learn from our mistakes. The next game will prove that we learn from our mistakes. We took in even more tactical stuff for this match and we’re looking to connect better on the pitch.”
Azkals coach Scott Cooper said his team “got too brave and adventurous” against the Syrians in their initial meeting. “We saw in Bacolod how strong and talented they are, but we rocked them in the first 20 minutes so that gives us confidence,” said Cooper.
The race for the top spot in the group remains open with Syria holding a five-point edge over China and the Philippines.
A win for the Azkals will trim that gap to just two points with the Philippines still to play Maldives and Guam at home next year. The other Azkals assignment in June 2019 will be against China on enemy ground.
Only the top team in the group will advance to the third round of qualifying together with the four best second-placed teams from the eight qualifying brackets.
DUBAI—Team Philippines captain Stephan Schrock didn’t need to hear the conversation among his younger teammates to understand how important his role will be when he reinforces the Under-22 team in the Southeast Asian Games football tournament next week.
A few meters where Schrock was having breakfast, Yrick Gallantes was speaking to Under-22 teammates Justin Baas and Edison Suerti on the team’s need for a leader as the Young Azkals set out to land the country’s first medal in the biennial event that starts on Monday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“I’m very confident I can lead them,” said the 34-year-old Schrock, one of the two overaged players picked by the coaching staff to power the Young Azkals in their biggest challenge yet. “I will try to guide the younger players as much as I can.”
Gallantes said Schrock’s inclusion would be a game-changer for the Young Azkals, who take on Cambodia in their first match in Group A on Monday.
Two days later, the team will face Myanmar, before tangling with Malaysia, before taking on Timor Leste as its final assignment in the group stage on Dec. 4 at Biñan Football Stadium.
“We have some experience as a team in the PFL Cup, but Schrock has the personality and quality that will really help us in tough matches,” said Gallantes. “We need his voice on the pitch.”
Five players in the SEA Games lineup are part of the current senior team that will play Syria on Tuesday night at Al Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium here in the Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers.
Defender Marco Casambre, 20, is also part of the senior side and Under-22 team that will be coached by Serbian Goran Milojevic.
The SEAG-bound pool had close to 50 players, before the lineup was slowly trimmed to close to 25 members in the Copa Paulino Alcantara Cup, where the Young Azkals won one match over Green Archers, drew against Mendiola and lost to eventual champion Ceres-Negros.
We are a team of young players with talent,” said Suerti. “Thanks to our coaches, we are also able to put some structure into the way we play, game management and on the tactical side.”
Philip James Younghusband, arguably the most celebrated Filipino footballer in recent times had announced his retirement from football today, at age 32.
The forward, who announced his intention to retire, made his debut with the Philippine Under-23 National Team during the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in Bacolod alongside brother James.
The following year in the same city, he made his senior debut for the Philippines in the AFF Championship Qualifiers where he lead all scorers with six goals in four matches.
He was part of the team in 2010 that made history in the AFF Suzuki Cup when he scored the second goal that capped off a 2-0 upset over then-defending champions Vietnam, in the the “Miracle in Hanoi.”
Eight years later, he sealed the country’s maiden participation in the AFC Asian Cup with the winning goal from the penalty spot against Tajikistan. The goal was his 50th goal for the country.
Younghusband made a total 108 appearances and scored 52 goals for the Philippines, both of which are the country’s all-time records. His last appearance for the team was in the AFC Asian Cup last January.
“We thank Phil Younghusband for his storied career with the Philippine Men’s National Team,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. “His tremendous contribution for Philippine football will never be forgotten. May his legacy continue to inspire the next crop of football players.”