31 March 2011

Azkals eye Middle East training camp


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals are likely to camp out in a Middle East country for their build up for their Round 1 match against Sri Lanka in the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup, Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano Araneta said Thursday.

“We’re looking at either Qatar or UAE,” said Araneta, noting that the training could begin anywhere between June 7-17.

The Azkals will battle their South Asian rivals in a home and away series staring on June 29 in Colombo and July 3 in the Philippines.

Asked why they want to train in a Middle East country, Araneta said: “Without looking past Sri Lanka, coach (Michael) Weiss and Dan Palami (team manager) also want to prepare against Kuwait in Round 2. We know that the weather in Kuwait is extremely hot so training in a Middle East country will get the players acclimatized with the weather condition.”

Ranked 22 spots higher in the FIFA world standings, the Azkals appear favored over the 173rd ranked Sri Lanka, which the Filipino booters have never played before.

The Azkals, though, are expected to be put to their limits against Kuwait, a Middle East ans Asian football heavyweight which won the Asian Cup in 19890 and is currently ranked 101st. Round 2 is another two-leg series slated July 23 and 28.

“But we’re not underestimating the Sri Lankans,” said Araneta, adding that he was satisfied with his inspection of the 30,000-seater Rizal Memorial Satdium in Manila -- the venue being eyed to host the game against the Brave Reds aside from the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

"The conractor said the field will be ready by July so it's good. Our only concern are the dressing rooms which need to be fixed," Araneta said.

Without making a decision, Araneta sounded as if the Rizal Memorial Stadium will be the choice.

"Maybe we can set up an air-conditioned tent for the media covering the event," he added.

By the time World Cup qualifier starts, striker Phil Younghusband has fully recovered from his hamstring injury and may join his teammates in Sri Lanka, strength and conditioning coach Josef Malinay said.

The team goes to Tacloban City, hometown of Palami, on Friday to conduct a relief operation for hundreds of victims of a recent flooding there and the nearby towns.

Manila Bulletin

Rizal stadium likely venue for Azkals’ qualifying match for World Cup

By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—It looks like the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila has the inside track in the selection for the site of the Philippines’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying first-round match against Sri Lanka on July 3.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said on Thursday there would be enough time to construct temporary air-conditioned dressing rooms and media rooms as part of the requirements of the Asian Football Confederation.

But Araneta clarified that any kind of work to be done in the stadium should have clearance from the Philippine Sports Commission, which has been managing the facility.

Araneta, who checked the facility together with national team manager Dan Palami, also said that the match could be played at 4 p.m., so that additional lights would not have to be installed in the stadium.

The stability of the seats and the benches in the stadium should also be checked to ensure the safety of football fans, Araneta said.

“We have to really check since it’s been awhile since the stadium was packed,” he added.

Araneta said officials of La Salle in charge of rehabilitating the pitch have promised that the field would be ready in time for the match.

The stadium, which can accommodate up to 30,000 people, played host to several international football matches. Teams from Spain and China have played in the stadium built in 1930.

Araneta said the open grandstand could accommodate twice more than the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, which could also be a possible venue, having hosted the AFC Challenge Cup match against Mongolia last February.


PFF Suzuki U-23 South Mindanao Champion

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) - SUZUKI U-23 Southern Mindanao Cluster Championships will kick off on April 1, 2011 at the Tionko Football Grounds, Bolton Riverside, Quimpo Blvd., at 1:00 PM. Davao FA will play in the opening game following the opening ceremony. The opponent will be determined during the Managers' Meeting at 9:00 AM on April 1, 2011. Participating are teams from Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Davao City. PFF Competitions Department Head Cyril Dofitas and officials from Suzuki Philippines are expected to attend. Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has been invited to grace the opening ceremony.

The U-19 Championships will be at 3:30 PM featuring Davao FA - the opponent to be determined during the Managers' Meeting.

This event is in cooperation with the Philippine National Red Cross, Task Force Davao, the Davao City Police Office, Medvil Farms, Barangay Mintal, and UP Mindanao.

U-23 line-up of Davao FA

Rufino Samuel Mantos III, Jeffrey R. Albon, Mark Anthony B. Fernandez, Abdul Mamadali, Sean Clark Labang, Imardino B. Polo, Ruben Razid E. Mohammad Said, Clifford C. Dacera, Nur Hazzanal Mentang, Al Dinn Tiboron, Roelfred T. Napuran, Enrique J. Romero-Salas, Ian Oliver Sonza, Raymon Pareda, Joey P. Arobo, Juven Benitez, Jestoni R. Felipe, Edwin Giganto Jr., and, Renelle Pino. Coaches are Ramonito "Lalas" Carreon, Danny Boy Fernandez, Stanley Canete, and Alvic Troyo.

U-19 line-up of Davao FA

Roeder Ignacio, Francis Jay Abrasaldo, Jomar Acedo, Yoshimaku Koiszumi, David Angelo Diamante, Norwyn Ortanez, Francis Patrick Lim, Marlon Demapanag, Rocky Custodio, Emmanuel Joshue Brisson, Ryven Lumabao, Jose Edgar Ilagan, Datu Von Ysmael Biruar, Bal Morata, Leo Abunas, Renz Rey Napuran, Jemerick Awing, Alexis Dayondon, Edmar Porfinan, Charleston Uy, John de los Santos, and Danilo Lascuna. Coaches are Noel Presto, Emerson Roy Demegillo, Arman Valencia, and Angelo John Adana.

Davao FA

PFF Suzuki U-23 elims get underway

By Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan

THE Philippine Football Federation-Suzuki U23 National Cup Davao Region elimination kicks off Friday afternoon at the Tionko field with three teams seeing action.

Host Davao City, Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley will slug it out for a slot to the All-Mindanao finals from April 26-30 at still undetermined venue. The national finals are slated May 6 to 12.

A brief opening ceremony will be held starting at 1 p.m. with PFF and Suzuki executives as well as city officials gracing the affair.

PFF competitions department official Cyril V. Dofitas said the event serves as their long term program to discover talents for the national team.

"The Mindanao champion team will compete against Luzon and Visayas champions. The finals will adopt the international ruling of home-and-away game. When a Mindanao team makes it to the finals, a game will be held in the place where that team comes from," Dofitas said at a press conference at the Stadium Buffet Restaurant and Sports Lounge Thursday.

Suzuki Philippines corporate communications supervisor Areen Suria Fernandez said it was a privilege for her company to sponsor the three-year program of the PFF.

"This is our first time to sponsor the U23. We look forward to sponsoring other age groups," Fernandez said.

Bannering the Davao City squad are Rufino Samuel Mantos III, Jeffrey R. Albon, Mark Anthony B. Fernandez, Abdul Mamadali, Sean Clark Labang, Imardino B. Polo, Ruben Razid E. Mohammad Said, Clifford C. Dacera, Nur Hazzanal Mentang, Al Dinn Tiboron, Roelfred T. Napuran, Enrique J. Romero-Salas, Ian Oliver Sonza, Raymon Pareda, Joey P. Arobo, Juven Benitez, Jestoni R. Felipe, Edwin Giganto Jr. and Renelle Pino.

Davao Football Association president Rafael Vilela said the team will be mentored by Ramonito Carrreon, with Danny Boy Fernandez, Stanley Canete and Alvic Troyo as assistant coaches.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 01, 2011.

Iligan booters make gracious exit beating Butuan, 7-3

DESPITE yielding early the Northern Mindanao slot to streaking host Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association (CMOFA), the pre-tournament favorite Iligan-LDN booters showed discipline and sportsmanship, finishing their remaining match in Cagayan de Oro City Thursday with pride intact.

Returning to Xavier University's soccer field, the Iligan-Lanao del Norte team made a gracious exit winning over Butuan-Agusan Sur, 7-3, in the final day of one of Suzuki Cup's four cluster eliminations in Mindanao.

"Iligan and Butuan teams were very cooperative to the success of the tournament. We still have to find out why Surigao team failed to show when it already signified to participate," one Philippine Football Federation (PFF) official told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Powered by Monte Carlo striker Emiliano Mabalos Jr., the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association team beat Iligan-LDN, 5-4, and Butuan-ADN, 3-1, to make it to the Mindanao Finals of the Suzuki-PFF U23 Football Tournament.
Other qualifying games are being simultaneously held in Central Mindanao, South Mindanao and West Mindanao. (LLS)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 01, 2011.

PFF chief: Azkals complete for World Cup qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is confident that the Philippine Azkals will have most of their key players, including those who are playing in professional leagues, in time for their important World Cup qualifying games.

PFF President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said in an interview with ANC’s Hardball that the professional players, mostly Filipino-foreigners, are likely to be allowed by their mother clubs to join the Nationals for the FIFA World Cup qualifying games.

“Since it's already the end of the leagues (football season) in Europe, they are coming here by May or June for the preparations,” said Araneta.

Among the Azkal members playing in professional leagues abroad are Filipino-British goalkeeper Neil Etheridge (Fulham Club), Filipino-Danish fullback Jerry Lucena (Danish First Division side AGF Aarhus), and Filipino-Dutch midfielder Jason de Jong (Persiba Balikpapan in Indonesia).

The Azkals are due to face Sri Lanka for a home-and-away World Cup qualifying series on June 29 and July 3.

If they beat Sri Lanka, they will play the stronger Kuwaiti football team in the next round.

“[The series is] a part of the FIFA calendar so they can always be released by their teams,” said Araneta.

In some AFC Challenge Cup games, Etheridge and De Jong were not able to suit up for the Azkals because of commitments with their football clubs.

Araneta added they are mulling whether to send the Azkals to a training camp either in Australia or in the Middle East

“We’re now looking for several options for camp in Australia or the somewhere Middle East so we can prepare not only for Sri Lanka but also for Kuwait,” said Araneta.

Meanwhile, Araneta said they will inspect Rizal Memorial Stadium to check if it will be suitable for the Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka on July 3.

“We'll go to the Rizal Memorial to look at the stadium. From there, we will find out how we can prepare the stadium for the July 3 home game of the Azkals,” he said.

Also being considered for the home game is the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

The away game will take place in Sri Lanka on June 29.


30 March 2011

CMOFA team makes it to Mindanao Finals

WITH Surigao del Norte booters a no show, host CMOFA's convincing 3-1 shellacking of Butuan-Agusan del Norte on Wednesday was enough to send the home squad to the Mindanao Finals of the Suzuki-PFF U23 Football Qualifying Tournament.

This, as Iligan-LDN and Butuan-ADN will still be back Thursday morning at Xavier University's soccer field for the remaining game of NorMin's qualifier.

"Actually, nag-commit ang Surigao nga modula mao nga gi-apil sila sa linya. We have to discuss it yet with the PFF people kon naa bay possible sanction ang ilang wala pagtunga," PFF match coordinator Conson Manresa told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Monte Carlo-groomed striker Emiliano "Ayat" Mabalos Jr. again did an Azkal stunt by Filipino-Spanish new enforcer Angel Guirado, scoring the first two CMOFA goals in the 31st and 60th minutes before Bon Miller Ellecion made it three in the 64th minute.

"Ayat's our Azkal Guirado here," female football fans watching the morning match-up proudly stirred Mabalos while the CMOFA bets changed their upper clothes in a bench shaded by one of the big trees circling the XU field.

Mabalos also scored two goals, including the winner, in CMOFA's heart-stopping 5-4 conquest of Iligan-LDN Club.

Butuan-ADN, which neutralized CMOFA's offense almost in the entire first half, got its lone goal from Djon Scottie Amoc in the 92nd minute.

"Dugay kaayo ta naka score, but still a win is a win," said coach Allan Medalla.

Match Commissioner Percy Guarin said the Philippine Football Federation is considering Davao as their tentative venue for the National Finals.

The PFF-Suzuki Cup Mindanao Cluster Eliminations are also ongoing in Central Mindanao, South Mindanao and West Mindanao.

Cotabato City and North Cotabato locked horns at M'lang Football Plaza for the Central Mindanao slot.

South Mindanao has Compostella Valley, Davao City and Davao del Norte competing at Tionko Football Field in Davao City.

While Misamis Occidental, Ozamis, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Norte, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Sur and Pagadian are comprising the biggest field for the West Mindanao elimination right at the Ozamis National High School football field.

Top team finisher will join the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association (CMOFA) in the Mindanao Finals before the home-and-away games of which the top-team survivor will be crowned as the PFF-Suzuki U-23 Champion. (Lynde Salgados)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 31, 2011.

Rizal Memorial, Panaad eyed for Azkals' home game

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is now considering 2 possible sites where the country can hold its home game against Sri Lanka.

According to ABS-CBN sports correspondent Dyan Castillejo, the PFF will be choosing between Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila and Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

“As per PFF President Nonong Araneta and [Azkals team] Manager Dan Palami, our home game will be either at Rizal Memorial or Panaad Bacolod stadium,” said Castillejo through her Twitter account.

The Philippine Azkals will face Sri Lanka in a home-and-away qualifying series for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29 and July 3.

The home game, scheduled on July 3, could take place at the 30,000-seater Rizal Memorial Stadium, site of some of the biggest sporting events in Southeast Asia (SEA), including the 1991 and 2005 SEA Games.

It could also be staged at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, where the home game of the Philippine Azkals against Mongolia for the 2012 Challenge Cup was held.

More than 20,000 football fans filled the Panaad Stadium on February 9 to witness the Azkals beat Mongolia, 2-0.

Filipino-British Azkals player, James Younghusband, said they are prepared to take on the Sri Lankans anywhere in the Philippines.

“Wherever we play in the phils is ok, cos i know we'll have the support of pinoys!,” he told Castillejo.

The away game, scheduled on June 29, will take place in Sri Lanka either at the 25,000-seater Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo or the 15,000-seater Kalutara Stadium in Kalutara.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Sports said they will start talks with Sri Lankan authorities for the local airing of the away game.

“ABS-CBN Sports is committed to broadcast the 2 legs of the 1st round of the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. We'll start coordinating w/ Sri Lanka,” ABS-CBN Sports said.


Philippine Azkals to face Sri Lanka in World Cup qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals will play against Sri Lanka in the first round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

This was announced in a draw held at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday.

The home-and-away qualifying series will take place on June 29 in Sri Lanka and July 3 in the Philippines.

The Philippine Azkals team is currently ranked No. 151 in the FIFA world standings.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is ranked No. 173.

The Azkals’ qualifying match against Sri Lanka is the first of 4 qualifying rounds the Philippines will have to go through before landing a spot in the prestigious World Cup.

If the Azkals successfully hurdle the Sri Lankan team, they will next face Kuwait, which is ranked 103rd.

The reigning World Cup champion is Spain.

The Philippines recently qualified for the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup tournament proper via their successful stint in the group stage.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami said German coach Hans Michael Weiss will make sure that the Filipino squad will be fully prepared when they take on the Sri Lankans.

“We will prepare for Sri Lanka like they were Spain,” Palami told ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo.

Sport analyst Christian Soler said in his Twitter account that Sri Lanka has an impressive record in the Challenge Cup.

“Sri Lanka has an impressive Challenge Cup resumĂ©, finishing runners-up in 2006 and qualifying in 2008 and 2010,” he said.


2014 FIFA World Cup - Philippines vs Sri Lanka !

Philippines face Sri Lanka in First round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, if they beat Sri Lanka they will play Kuwait in Second Round.

Scheduled matches :

29. June Sri Lanka - Philippines
3. July Philippines - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka`s latest matches :

16.2.2010 Sri Lanka - Myanmar 0-4
18.2.2010 Sri Lanka - Tajikistan 1-3
20.2.2010 Sri Lanka - Bangladesh 3-0
27.3.2011 Sri Lanka - Tajikistan 2-2
29.3.2011 Sri Lanka - Tajikistan 0-2

All matches in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will play group matches in AFC Challenge Cup against Nepal, North Korea and Afghanistan in April.

Last match for Philippines against Sri Lanka was World Cup qualifier in 1996 when Philippines lost 0-3. The match was played in Doha , Qatar

29 March 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

Kuala Lumpur: The four draws taking place in the AFC House on March 30 will be streamed live on the-afc.com.

The live webcast will start at 1000 hours (GMT +8) with the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers draw while AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers draw will take place at 1200 hours.

The 2012 London Olympics Asian qualifiers Round 2 draw will be held at 1500 hours while 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers Round 1 and Round 2 draws will take place at 1600 hours.

Apart from the live webcast, simultaneous live updates will also be provided on the-afc.com


A nightmarish CMOFA escape

PLAYING both enthusiastically with offense running smoothly from either side, host CMOFA got the better in the end, edging Iligan-Lanao del Norte Football Association, 5-4, in Tuesday's breathtaking opener of the Suzuki-PFF U23 Football Qualifying Tournament here at Xavier University's soccer field.

The Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association faces Butuan-Agusan del Norte Football Association Wednesday at 9 a.m., while the Iligan-Lanao Norte booters -- who scored the first two goals in the match -- will try to bounce back against the Surigao del Norte Football Association.

Emiliano Mabalos Jr., fondly called "Ayat" by friends in local football circle, had his share of an Azkal-like euphoria when he shone the brightest in the opening day action.

The only "Monte Carlo player" who made the cut of CMOFA's 23-under squad, Mabalos duplicated Rey Mark Galacio's ice-breaker with another goal 6th minute in the second half to force a 2-all deadlock.

Then less than five minutes remaining, Mabalos eluded the opposition to score another goal and CMOFA worked hard on defense parrying every Iligan-LDN attack to secure the victory.

"Ayat's our big hero against Iligan. He converted the winning goal just a few minutes before the final whistle," said CMOFA Club board member Teddy Raypon.

"It seems our boys have the chance to get it to the Mindanao Finals," added CMOFA president Mike Bantiles.

The other goal takers for CMOFA were Earl Garcia (3rd) and Jaymile Conmigo (4th).

"We regrouped in the second half after Iligan made it 2-0 in the first half. Credit it to the boys as they really fought hard to the best of their ability," said CMOFA head coach Allan Medalla.

The game was so intense when CMOFA made the equalizer that three players, including one from the home team, were given yellow cards.

The five-day tourney is one of the four regional qualifying games in Mindanao, leading to the "first-of-a-kind" Suzuki-PFF U23 National Finals this coming April.

Eillen Esteban, advertising and PR supervisor of the Suzuki Cup, said their company is committed to support in two to 3 years the Suzuki-PFF Cup, considered as a local version of the AFF Suzuki Cup where the Philippine Azkals first made a noise in 2010. (With reports from Jinggoy Ilogon)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 30, 2011.

PFF U23 - Laguna vs Baguio

PFF SUZUKI CUP U23 - Opening in Laguna tomorrow. Azkals will be there at 11am in UP Los Banos Bakerfield. Opening game starts 3pm Laguna vs Baguio.

Azkals start gearing up for World Cup


INTENSIVE scouting in three continents for new players plus four training camps beginning early May will form part of the national team build-up for the Asian World Cup qualifiers in late June, according to coach Hans Michael Weiss.

"We will have a break until close to end of the month, after which the coaches have been instructed to start looking for new players locally, particularly in the Under-23 and Under-19 competitions that will begin shortly," Weiss said.

He said team manager Dan Palami and midfielder Anton del Rosario, who left for the United States last Monday, will also hold tryouts in San Francisco on April 9 and 10, with at least 45 hopefuls from both the East and West Coasts, along with Canada, signing up.

"As for myself, I shall be leaving for Germany to conduct my own screening around Easter time," Weiss said. "We would like to form the best possible team for the Asian World Cup series."

Among the Filipino-Germans he would likely tap, Weiss said, are midfielders Manuel Ott, 19, and Stefan Schrock, 25, who are playing with German Second Division teams.

Weiss added he’s in constant touch with Filipino-British defender Rob Gier to help him recruit prospects for the national squad.

"I would like to see younger players joining the team, but we have to take it step by step," said Weiss, adding the first training camp-cum-open tryouts will be set on May 9-26 "which I would prefer to be held outside Manila."

"We will also make this camp the start of our conditioning for the players," said fitness coach Joseph Malinay.

The camp on May 27-June 2, Weiss said, will be a "recreation camp," possibly in Cebu, to increase rapport and camaraderie among the potential national team members whose families will be allowed to join them.

After a five-day respite, Weiss said he hopes to have a complete 23-man roster when the Nationals leave for Australia where they will hold camp in Melbourne from June 7-18. He said they are expected to play at least five matches with Australian sides.

The Azkals will complete the final phase of their training in the country on June 21-27, two days before the first match of the World Cup home-and-away series.

The draw for the Asian Word Cup opening round qualifying matches will be held today at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, with Weiss saying he intends to "form a strong and competent team that can go up against any opponent that we face."

"If all of our plans fall into place–players, logistics, training, etc.–I believe we do have a have a chance against any squad," Weiss said.

"However, should we be drawn against countries like Uzbekistan, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, then we will have a challenging time under the home-and-away format," Weiss. "But this is football, so anything is possible."

Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano Araneta Jr., who arrived yesterday from an AFC meeting in Vietnam, said he’s hoping the Philippines would not be drawn against a strong squad.

"Hopefully it won’t be against strong countries like Malaysia or Vietnam," Araneta said. "If we’re lucky, we might get Mongolia again or even Macau."


Azkals eye medal finish in SEAG


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has never won a medal of any color in the men’s football event of the Southeast Asian Games since its debut in the biennial meet in 1977.

Seeking to end the drought, Azkals team manager Dan Palami has vowed to form the strongest football squad ever.

“I think we can safely say we will be forming the strongest team for the Southeast Asian Games,” said Palami, who will also stand as team manager of the national team to the SEA Games set in Indonesia this November.

He said chances are strong to contend for a medal considering that six players from the Philippine Azkals are eligible to play in the under-23 tournament.

The six players are goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, 21, reliever Christopher Camcam, 16, defender David Basa, 21, striker Yannick Tuason, 21, who are both members of the University of Santo Tomas football team, and Fil-German Patrick Hinrichsen, 20, and Fil-Dutch Jason de Jong, 21.

“They don’t need to try out for the team. I think with their level of play, they should be automatically included in the team,” Palami said.

"I hope we can win the medal under my leadership. That's all our aim," Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, a former member of the national team from 1975 to '80s, said.

Malaysia is the defending SEA Games champion, with Vietnam and Singapore as the second and third place finishers.

Azkals head coach Hans Michael Weiss will mentor the squad, which he hopes to be boosted with top-calibre players from Europe. The German coach, together with Rob Gier will soon fly to Germany to scout for players.

“So far, there are at least 30 players who expressed their desire to join the Sea Games team,” Palami said.

Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo and Anto Del Rosario will conduct tryouts for the under-23 event on April 9-10 in Daly City, California.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Azkals opponent for the Round 1 of the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be known this afternoon as the draw will be held in Kuala Lumpur.

Manila Bulletin

Mindanao PFF U19 and PFF U23 results

PFF U23 in Cagayan de Oro City :

Cagayan de Oro 5-4 Iligan-Lanao

Pics from Azkals website

PFF U19 Kicked-off today at Pagadian City for the West Mindanao Cluster.

Results for 28 Mar 2011: Pagadian 3-0 Ozamis & Dipolog 4 - 1 Zamboanga

PFF Suzuki Cup U-23 (WEST MINDANAO) Cluster Qualifying Round Champion: ZaNDiFA (Zambo. del Norte-Dipolog Football Association)

March 29 - March 31 – Xavier School, Cagayan De Oro
March 30 - April 3 - UP Los Banos, Laguna
March 30 - April 3 - Naga Sports Complex, Naga City
April 2 - April 4 - Municipality of MLang Plaza, North Cotabato
April 1 – 3 - Tionko Football Field, Davao City

Comment :

Looking for all results from PFF U19 and U23. Post them to me at joki20@hotmail.com or in comments

Espinosa out to prove he can hack it


DISAPPOINTED by his lackluster showing in the recent Asian Challenge Cup group matches in Myanmar, striker William Espinosa intends to show he has what it takes when he suits up for Global Smartmatic, the team of Philippine team manager Dan Palami, next weekend in the United Football League.

"I was not happy with my form in Myanmar. That was not the real me," Espinosa, 29, said during a welcome dinner for the Azkals hosted by businessman Jack Rodriguez at the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant at the Glorietta 4 in Makati City Monday night.

Espinosa, who was adopted by a German family after his Laguna-born parents migrated to Germany, was used sparingly by coach Hans Michael Weiss in Myanmar, mostly as a reliever in the waning minutes to mainstays Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta.

This was hardly what the slim, 5-foot-7 Espinosa expected after he impressed Weiss with his workouts with the national team in Bacolod last month that prompted the German mentor to include him on the roster to Myanmar.

In his pre-tournament practice on the eve of their departure to Myanmar, Espinosa didn’t look fit, according to Weiss.

Epinosa said the drastic change in the weather robbed him of his usual explosiveness on the pitch.

"From 30-degrees Celsius in the Philippines I was met by minus-15 when I went back to Germany and this sapped my strength and affected my conditioning," Espinosa explained.

He claimed when he turned up in Manila a week before the nationals left for Myanmar, he still had not fully recovered his strength, which showed in the team’s lone practice at the University of Makati field right after the Azkals returned from Mongolia.


28 March 2011

CMOFA hosts Suzuki U23 qualifier

By Lynde Salgados

FOOTBALL is again "alive and kicking" elsewhere in the country today. Thanks to the Philippine Azkals' meteoric rise that Suzuki -- RP's only integrated automobile and motorcycle company -- is now taking the cue in sponsoring the Suzuki-PFF U23 Football Qualifying Tournament which opens here today at the Xavier University's soccer field.

Featuring host Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Association (CMOFA), Iligan-Lanao del Norte Football Association (ILNFA), Surigao del Norte Football Association (SNFA) and Butuan-Agusan del Norte Football Association (BANFA), the four-team rivalry will be played until April 2.

Survivor of the five-day tourney will advance in the Mindanao finals.

"We have only qualifying games in Mindanao. At least four regional tourneys where each top performing team will duel it out for the right to represent Mindanao in the National Finals," said Eilleen Esteban, advertising and PR supervisor of the Suzuki Cup.

And what better way to conduct the finals is to have the regional qualifiers clash in a home-and-away championship match.

"The winning team, of course, will be crowned as the PFF-Suzuki U-23 Champion," Esteban further said.

Sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation, the PFF Suzuki Cup is considered as a local version of the AFF Suzuki Cup, the very event that served as a launching vehicle of the Philippine Askals into Asean football stardom in 2010.

And telling that her Japanese superiors at Suzuki are big football fans themselves, Esteban said "we believe that with the help of private sponsors, football is going to be the next big thing to happen in Philippine sports."

With Suzuki's valuable support, CMOFA president Mike Bantiles and the rest of the local football entities who attended Monday's forum at the VIP hotel could only thank the Philippine Azkals for all the blessings that come along the way.

"The wind of change that we can share now for the betterment of grassroots football development," added Xavier University's resident trainer Percy Guarin, himself a vintage Askal being a former member of the Philippine football team alongside Conson Manresa of Iligan.

PFF representative Cyril Dofitas also graced the Suzuki Cup briefing as well as CMOFA insiders Teddy Raypon and Percibal Batar and former UST-UAAP stalwart Julie Gerona Popovic, team manager of Monte Carlo booters that recently emerged back-to-back champion in the Marawi City Invitational Games.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 30, 2011.

National football tournament to kick off

FOR the first time in many years, a national football tournament will kick off next month.

A source from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) told The Manila Times that the competitions, called the PFF-Smart National Clubs Championships, will be held in various regions and provinces in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and in Metro Manila, with the two teams from each of those areas advancing to the national finals.

Lawyer Roland Tulay, president of the National Capital Region Football Association, for his part, said that the competition in Metro Manila would be one of the most interesting since it pits teams that have imports from as far as Africa.

The national finals will be held from June 6 to 25 in Manila with the football federation hosting the games.

Tulay said that it was during competitions like the PFF-Smart National Clubs Championships that new talents were discovered, especially now that the Philippine football team “Azkals” were gaining multitudes of fans nationwide.

“This is where you discover new talents. It is the football clubs that re the foundation for the development of the sport. Good examples are Aly Borromeo, [Emil] “Chieffy” Caligdong and Anton del Rosario of the Azkals,” he said.

It was during March that the provincial qualifying rounds were conducted by each member association of the federation at the local level.

The group stage eliminations will run from April 1 to 16. For Luzon,
football associations representing Baguio City, Laguna, Quezon province, Rizal, Camarines Norte, Naga City-Camarines Sur, Legazpi City-Albay, Masbate and Oriental Mindoro will conduct the competitions at the provincial level.

In Mindanao, football associations representing

Butuan-Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Iligan-Lanao del Norte, Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao and Davao del Norte, Maguindanao-Cotabato City, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat. Misamis Occidental-Ozamiz, Zamboanga, Zamboanga del Norte-Dipolog and Zamboanga del Sur-Pagadian will conduct the competitions.

In the Visayas, the football associations for Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental will conduct the competitions.

In Metro Manila, there will be at least 10 clubs competing.

Tulay said that the members of the Azkals could go back to their respective teams, which would compete in the tournament. He did not elaborate.

He added that with the Azkals generating fervor toward football, the stakeholders in the sport could take the development of football one step further with the establishment of academies for the sport.

Manila Times

Villaflor: PH deserves to host 2012 Challenge Cup

TOO much football never hurts, at least for us who watch the game from a safe distance.

I confirmed this last weekend when I had to monitor two important football events one after the other.

First was the 2nd All-Visayas Festival of Football for the Under-14 Girls and Under 13-Boys elite squads that also kicked off last Friday. The festival, which the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and the San Carlos City Negros FC organized, drew teams from the host city, Iloilo, Dumaguete and Cebu. The grassroots activity will also be made as basis for the national team selection for both age brackets. I will write more about the festival, which I was fortunate to witness, in my next column.

The second, of course, was last Friday’s do-or-die match and the Azkals’ convincing 3-0 win over Bangladesh, a perfect result for the team to barge into the AFC Challenge Cup 2012.

And this leads to the question: are the PFF officials interested in hosting the AFC Challenge Cup 2012? (The PFF eyed the 2012 Suzuki Cup, but hosting rights for the group stage have been awarded to Malaysia and Thailand.) If I’m not mistaken, with Group D still to be settled in the 2012 qualifiers, the venue for the Challenge Cup finals has yet to be determined.

According to an article published in a national broadsheet, PFF President Nonong Araneta is “working on” getting rights to host one of the group qualifying tournaments for the 2014 edition, which could be held in 2013.

Shouldn’t we bid first for the March 2012 Finals? Unless there’s an internal agreement within the AFC, hosting rights for 2012 apparently are still up in the air. “Only the eight qualified teams for the tournament proper can bid to host the Finals,” says a Wikipedia entry on the tournament’s page.

No stranger to hosting Challenge Cup matches, the Philippines is more than qualified.

Iloilo was home to the 2008 qualifiers, drawing an average of 5,000 spectators per game. Then there’s Bacolod’s hosting last February of the first-leg playoff for the 2010 edition. Not only did 20,000 spectators troop to Panaad Stadium, which complied with all requirements, fans were treated to a decent live coverage of the match. And you very well know what we missed in the Myanmar tournament, not to mention terrible attendance from the Burmese (only 1,500 spectators watched the home team’s last match, imagine that.)

AFC Challenge Cup Philippines 2012 sounds like a success even this early. But first, bid we must.

Sun Star Cebu

27 March 2011

Tough days ahead for Azkals

By Francis Santiago

National coach Hans Michael Weiss said he will need six tuneup matches against club teams in Asia to whip the Philippine Azkals into fighting form for the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that starts this June.

“We will start training beginning of May,” the German coach said yesterday.

The Azkals returned home before dawn yesterday, fresh from their victorious campaign in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Myanmar, and Weiss doesn’t want to waste time in mapping out their battle plan for their next important mission.

“Coach Weiss has proposed to have five to six friendly match against club teams,” Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said before boarding a flight for Vietnam to attend an AFC conference yesterday.

“That’s the initial plan with my talks with team manager Dan Palami.”

Araneta said Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, and Australia are the possible sites of their training camps.

“As much as possible Asian countries ang gusto namin kasi mas mura doon,” he added.

Azkals co-captain Chieffy Caligdong said they were given by Palami a one month breather before plunging to training for the home-and-away World Cup series.

“Home sweet home. At last nakasama ko na family ko friends and football fans namin. One week ko din di nakausap family ko,” said Caligdong, who along with the other team members landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 733 at 3:50 a.m.

The Azkals’ opponent for the first of six-rounds of the qualifier will be known only during a draw on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Palami said they are hoping to assemble one of the strongest teams for the qualifier.

“For the World Cup qualifiers, I’m hoping that we will be able to form our Dream Team,” Palami said.

Among possible recruits for qualifier include Fil-German Stephan Schrock, Fil-Danish Dennis Cagara, Toronto-born Jonathan and Julian De Guzman while Filipino-Spanish Angel Guirado, who struck twice in the Filipino’s 3-0 win over Bangladesh in the Challenge Cup group stage last Friday, has made himself available.

The home-and-away series is set June 29 and July 3, and Araneta said the Rizal Memorial football stadium in Manila and the 1 Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City are possible venues for the home game. If the Philippines advances, Round 2 is set July 23 and 28.

Weiss, meanwhile, said he will fly to Germany soon to scout Fil-foreign players for the Philippines’ Under-23 team to the Southeast Asian Games later this year in Jakarta, Indonesia.

For beating Bangladesh Friday, the Azkals earned a slot in the main draw of the Challenge Cup, a tournament for emerging football nations, to be held next year.

Manila Bulletin

2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers - Bacolod or Manila ?

"Araneta said the 30,000-seater Rizal Memorial football stadium in Manila and the 15,500-seater Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City are possible venues for the hosting of the home game of the series set June 29 and July 3."

Manila Bulletin

Who do you think should host the World Cup qualifiers in June/July, Manila or Bacolod ? I been created a poll in my blog.

You can also post comments.

Azkals' goal: World Cup


Booters prepare for qualifying series

After securing a place in the 2012 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, the Philippine Azkals will start preparing for the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On Friday, the Azkals crushed Bangladesh, 3-0, at the Aung San Stadium in Rangoon, Myanmar to reach the main draw of the Challenge Cup for the first time since the event’s inaugural in 2006.

"We are happy with the win. They gave us another reason to be proud of being Filipinos. It’s a big boost to the Philippine football. Our progress to the main draw only means that we have improved a lot and are continuously developing," said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta.

Araneta, however, said they are not going to rest on their laurels, adding that the Azkals will try to sustain their momentum in the World Cup qualifying.

"That will be their next assignment," Araneta said.

The qualifier will be a home-and-away series and the Azkals' opponent for the first of six-rounds will be known only during a draw on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Araneta said the 30,000-seater Rizal Memorial football stadium in Manila and the 15,500-seater Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City are possible venues for the hosting of the home game of the series set June 29 and July 3.

If the Philippines advances, Round 2 is set July 23 and 28.

"It will only be the second time in our history that we will host the qualifier," Araneta said.

The first time was in 2001 when the Philippines played Laos at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City (formerly ULTRA).The game ended in a 1-1 draw and the Filipinos failed to advance.

The Azkals return today minus Filipino-Danish Gerry Lucena who had to fly back to Denmark.

Each member of the team, including the coaches received a bonus of $1,500 each for the victory.

"It was just overwhelming. And the boys are happy as well. We would like to thank the fans for their prayers," Palami said.

The Azkals came into the match needing to win after being held to draws by Palestine (0-0) and Myanmar (1-1).

Striker Ian Araneta put the Azkals ahead after the 41st minute and Fil-Spanish Angel Aldeguer Guirado added two more goals to complete the lopsided win.

It was Araneta’s first goal in 11 matches. He completed a rare hat-trick in the Azkals’ 5-0 thumping of Timor Leste in the Suzuki Cup last year.

Manila Bulletin

UFL - Results

March 27, 2011

Stallions FC 4 - 0 Union Internacional Manila

Navy FC 1 - 2 Global Smartmatic

Dolphins FC 2 - 0 Pasargad FC

Green Archers Orient Freight 1 - 2 Air Force Rider

Sunken Garden United FC 2 - 7 Nomads FC

Loyola Meralco Sparks FC 2 - 2 Kaya Smart

Japan FC 0 - 3 Lions FC

March 30, 2011

Air Force Rider - Army Fritz and Macziol IBM

University of Makati Football Field , 4 PM

Up next: Azkals ‘Dream Team’

Cedelf P. Tupas

RANGOON—Promising as it is now, the Philippine football team is only bound to get stronger.

With many key players still yet to strut their wares for the squad, the talk of an Azkals “Dream Team” for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers gathered steam here shortly after they got the job done in the AFC Challenge Cup group qualifying tournament.

“We hope to assemble the Dream Team for the World Cup qualifiers,” said team manager Dan Palami, the man credited for the Azkals’ rise from obscurity. “We just played 60 percent of our potential here. We can build an even better team.”

The Azkals won one match—a 3-0 drubbing of Bangladesh—after drawing with Myanmar and Palestine to secure qualification to the next phase in the company of India, Turkmenistan and Maldives, which have earlier booked their places.

Together with regulars in the squad like Neil Etheridge, Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario, Chieffy Caligdong, Ray Jonsson, Rob Gier, Simon Greatwich and Phil and James Younghusband, and newcomers Jerry Lucena and Angel Aldeguer Guirado, the “Dream Team” will include the Filipino-German rightback Stephan Schrock and Filipino-Danish leftback Dennis Cagara.

The first round of qualifying is scheduled in June and July, but the Azkals’ opponents will be known March 30 when the draw is held in the AFC office in Kuala Lumpur.

Palami said the team will be given a one-month break to attend to several commitments.

During their break, the Azkals will also undertake relief operations in Palami’s hometown, Tacloban City, which was hit by heavy rains that caused floods recently.

“The team has been very fortunate to have survived several natural calamities,” said Palami, whose squad was training in Japan when the strong earthquake hit the country and was also in Myanmar when another tremor shook the Southeast Asian country.

“This is our way of giving back for all the blessings we have received. We are thankful that despite all that’s happened, we have been given the chance to make history. I’m encouraging the fans to participate and contribute.”

The Azkals will also use the break to scout for new players in Europe and the United States as well as standouts for the Under-23 squad for the Southeast Asian Games.

Palami said Borromeo, Del Rosario and Chris Greatwich will be holding tryouts in the United States next month, while Gier will be helping out in looking for players in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation is working on getting the hosting rights to one of the group qualifying tournaments for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.

Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella, who is also part of the PFF advisory council, said he has been assured of support by key AFC officials for the country to host the tournament, which could either be held in Manila or Bacolod in 2013.

“With all due respect to Myanmar, if they can do it, I think we can also do it,” said Puentevella, who watched the Philippines’ first two matches here.


Azkals’ next mission

AFTER qualifying to the Asian Football Challenge Cup main draw, the Azkals will be in for another tough grind as they embark on a new challenge—the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

This is the first time the Philippines will join the qualifiers since whimpering out without a win in the qualifying round for the 2002 World Cup.

The Azkals is grouped with the bottom 16 among the AFC members and will play in the home-and-away first round against a yet to be determine foe.

The bottom 16 in the AFC are Malaysia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Timor Leste, Macau, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar and Laos. The Philippines is ranked last because it failed to join the 2006 and 2010 qualifiers.

The draw for the home and away matches in the first round, to be played on June 29 and July 3, will be on March 30.

If the Philippines wins the first round series, it will play in another home-and-away second round with the top 22 teams in Asia.

Meanwhile, team manager Dan Palami lauded the team’s effort in making history in the AFC Challenge Cup, where the Azkals made the main draw for the first time after finishing second to Palestine.

It was also the second straight tournament that the Azkals finished undefeated and qualified from the group stage. In the Suzuki Cup, they also finished second to Vietnam in the group stage with two draws and one win.

Something lacking

“We’ve made history by qualifying for the main tournament for the first time in Philippine history,” Palami told Pinoyfootball.com.

The Philippines finished third in Group B with one win and two losses in the 2010 qualifiers. In the 2008 qualifiers played in Iloilo, the Azkals finished tied with seven points with Tajikistan but lost the lone qualifying spot on goal difference, 6-4.

The 2008 edition was the first time Neil Etheridge saw action for the team.

“There had been something lacking in the first few games but we picked up where we left off in the second half of the last game and played even better. We were pressuring all the time. Everyone played really well and the team gelled together,” Palami said.

The Azkals drew its first two matches against Myanmar, 1-1, and Palestine, before routing Bangladesh, 3-0. It was their best result since a 5-0 thrashing of Timor Leste in the Suzuki Cup qualifiers in November last year.

The Azkals are expected to train the whole summer for the World Cup qualifiers.

In an earlier interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Palami promised to hold a training camp in Cebu, to give Cebuano fans a chance to meet the Azkals.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 27, 2011.

Cebu U13 falters against Iloilo, 3-2

THE Cebu Elite boys 13-Under team lost steam and bowed to Iloilo in the Visayas regional qualifiers in San Carlos City yesterday.

Iloilo avenged an earlier 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Cebu by bouncing back with a close 3-2 victory in the championship match.

“I don’t want to make excuses but we had plenty of chances we weren’t able to execute.

The game wasn’t for us,” Cebu Elite 13-Under coach Mario Ceniza told Sun.Star Cebu.

Iloilo scored the first goal but Enzo Ceniza, the son of Mario, tied the match with a penalty shot. Iloilo then scored another goal, which was countered by a magnificent goal by Bertram Musni outside the penalty box.

With the game tied at 2-2, Cebu conceded another goal by Iloilo for a 3-2 win for the latter.

Cebu crushed San Carlos City, 3-1, and Dumaguete, 4-2, to earn a slot in the finals.

Despite the loss, Mario was satisfied with the performance by his team even though they are missing two key players--strikers Vincent Lovitos and Moiselle Alforque of Don Bosco Technology Center. The two didn’t suit up for the championship match because both went home for their graduation.

“We were very good collectively. We were the darling of the crowd here because of the way we played. We were just unlucky,” said the older Ceniza. “I’m very contented with their performance despite missing two players.”

Lovitos and Alforque, according to Mario, were among the best strikers of the team.

Regardless of losing in the final match, nine players from Cebu were named in the All-Star match, which was ongoing as of press time. However, Mario believes more players from Cebu should have been chosen in the All-Star match, which he believes would be the basis of the scouts on selecting the players in the training pool for the RP 13-Under Boys team.

“I was expecting more (players) based on how we played,” he said.

The RP 13-Under Boys squad or “Little Azkals” is scheduled to compete in the Asian Football Confederation Festival of Football in Malaysia in June.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 27, 2011.

26 March 2011

2014 FIFA World Cup - Asian Qualifiers

Kuala Lumpur: AFC has announced the qualification format for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Wednesday.

Forty-three teams have entered the fray to grab four automatic and an inter-continental playoff berths.

In the first round, the 16 lowest ranked teams will be divided into eight groups for home-and-away matches on June 29 and July 3, 2011.

Eight winners from the first round will join 22 higher ranked teams in the second round where the teams will be divided into 15 groups for home-and-away matches on July 23 and 28.

The 15 winners from the second round will join top five direct entrants in the third round where they will be divided into five groups of four teams each.

The top two teams from each group will make it to Round 4. The third round will be played from September 2, 2011, to February 29, 2012.

The 10 qualified teams in the fourth round will be divided into two groups of five teams each and top two teams from each group will gain automatic berths in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

If Japan make it to the fourth round, they will be placed on Position 5 in their group in order not to play on June 18, 2013, to felicitate their participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup to be held from June 16 to 30, 2013.

Two third-placed teams will play in Round 5 to determine Asia’s representative in the inter-continental playoff.

The fourth round will be played from June 3, 2012, to June 18, 2013, while the playoff between the third-placed teams will be played on September 6 and 10, 2013.

The inter-continental playoff will be played on October 15 and November 19, 2013.

The seeding for the draw, to be held on March 30, will be based on the rankings from 2010 FIFA World Cup and its Asian qualifiers.

Teams ranked from 1-5 will participate in the qualifiers from Round 3, teams ranked 6-27 (22 teams) will participate from Round 2 and the teams ranked 28-43 (16) will play the first round.


1. Japan, 2. Korea Republic, 3. Australia, 4. DPR Korea, 5. Bahrain, 6. Saudi Arabia, 7. Iran, 8. Qatar, 9. Uzbekistan, 10. UAE, 11. Syria, 12. Oman, 13. Jordan, 14. Iraq, 15. Singapore, 16. China, 17. Kuwait, 18. Thailand, 19. Turkmenistan, 20. Lebanon, 21. Yemen, 22. Tajikistan, 23. Hong Kong, 24. Indonesia, 25. Kyrgyzstan, 26. Maldives, 27. India, 28. Malaysia, 29. Afghanistan, Cambodia, 31. Nepal, 32. Bangladesh, 33. Sri Lanka, Vietnam, 35. Mongolia, 36. Pakistan, 37. Palestine, 38. Timor Leste, 39. Macau, 40. Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, 42. Laos, Philippines.


Round 1: June 29 and July 3, 2011
Round 2: July 23 and July 28, 2011
Round 3: September 2, September 6, October 11, November 11, November 15, 2011 and February 29, 2012
Round 4: June 3, June 8, June 12, September 11, October 16, November 14, 2012, March 26, June 4, June 11, June 18, 2013
Round 5: September 6 and September 10, 2013
Round 6 (inter-continental playoff): October 15 and November 19, 2013


Philippines vs Bangladesh - TV5's live report at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification

Host AFC Challenge Cup finals ?

AFC Challenge Cup finals are scheduled for March 2012 . Why not apply to host the finals ? 8 teams will compete in the finals . One group in Manila (Rizal) and one in Bacolod (Panaad)

25 March 2011

72 teams join DRB football

THE first DRB Football Jamboree on April 2 and 3 at the Aboitiz Sports Field has attracted 72 teams from different categories.

The one-of-a-kind football festival features 13 categories—Players 6, Players 10, Boys 12, Boys 14, Girls 14, Boys 17, Girls 17, Boys 19, Girls 19, Men’s Open, Women’s Open, 38-and-above and the Inter-BPO. The Girls 12 division was scrapped because only one team signed up.

The tournament follows an 11-a-side format except for the Players 8 and 10, which follow a 9-a-side set-up.

The Players 10 and Men’s Open categories have the most teams with 10 teams each.
Out-of-town teams from Bukidnon, Compostela Valley and Cagayan de Oro are also joining the two-day tournament.

The Cebu Football Association (CFA) plans on holding this unique festival type of tournament five times a year.

Meanwhile, Cebu’s elite squads of Boys 13-Under and Girls 14-Under squads will be leaving for San Carlos City today for the Visayas regional qualifying tournament on March 25 to 27.

“We’re prepared. We’ve been practicing,” said Eleazar Toledo, who is the head coach of the Girls 14-Under squad.

The first two days of the developmental tournament is for the games, while Sunday is for the skills training.

Scouts for the national team of both divisions will watch the games to select talents for the national training pool.

The members of the Japanese Football Association (JFA) are also expected to observe the tournament. JFA is helping the Philippines in its grassroots program.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2011.

UFL - Global guns for fourth victory, faces Navy

Global Smartmatic aims to sustain its amazing run in the United
Football League when it battles winless Navy Sunday at the University of Makati pitch.

Global will be looking for its fourth straight victory in the 1 p.m.
clash against Navy in the first game of a three-match bill at UMak.

Green Archers Orient Freight, still on a high after its 2-0 conquest
of Loyola Meralco Sparks, faces defending champion Air Force Rider at 3 p.m.

Loyola-Meralco, with four points from five matches, tries to bounce
back against Kaya-Smart in the 4:30 p.m. game.

Kaya skipper Aly Borromeo is expected to be back for his squad along
with Anton Del Rosario, after the duo saw action for the national team
in the AFC Challenge Cup.

Kaya has not seen action for almost a month. They saw their two-game win run ended by Global, 0-3.

Air Force, running fifth with four points, is also hopeful to get the bulk of its squad back from international duty.

Among the Air Force players in the national team that saw action in Myanmar are strikers Ian Araneta and Yanti Barsales and Chieffy Caligdong. Mark Ferrer was also part of the national side in Myanmar.

But the spotlight will be on Global as it tries to underline its
superiority against Navy, the bottom team with just two points from
five matches.

Misagh Bahadoran, Izo El-Habbib and Cusmas will lead the attack line
for Global, which got another boost when it acquired former national
player Robert Canedo during the transfer window.

Kaya also beefed up its roster by tapping another former national player, Anto Gonzales.

Second division action also resumes at the Ascom field in Fort Bonifacio and the Nomads pitch in Paranaque.

Nomads and Stallions try to stay perfect as they take on separate rivals.

Nomads, with Mark Hartmann leading the charge, faces Sunken Garden,
while Stallions battles Union Internacional Manila.

Locked in a tight battle for fourth in the table, Pasargad, with an
even 3-3 card for nine points, clashes with Dolphins.

Lions guns for its second victory against Japan in the last game at 6 p.m. at Nomads.

UFL website

RP makes it to 2012 AFC-Challenge Cup

By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.

THE Philippine Football Team-Azkals clinched the second best spot in the Bracket A standing and eventually qualified in the 2012 AFC-Challenge Cup after beating Bangladesh Bengal Tigers Friday, 3-0, at Aung San Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

Iloilo native Ian Araneta scored the Azkals’ opening goal in the 41st minute of the game after picking up the ball from the left side of the box off a scramble at the right wing of Bengal Tigers’ goal. Araneta’s goal gave the Azkals a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half.

Araneta’s score was also his 9th international goal and his first since his last against Timor during the Suzuki Cup qualifying last year.

In the second period, the Azkals started aggressively on offense, resulting to a second goal on a header from Fil-Spanish striker Angel Guirado-Aldeguer in the 54th followed by another goal in the 76th minute on a strike just outside the box.

During the scrimmage, Aldeguer and Chieffy Caligdong busied the Bangladesh defense by taking several close range attempts at the opponents’ goal.

The Azkals also had excellent defense with team captain Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario, Jerry Lucena and Ray Johnsson.

Just before the match against Bangladesh, Azkals’ team manager Dan Palami reportedly promised to give each member US$1,000 as bonus if they win the bout.

The Azkals starters were keeper Neil Etheridge, skipper Borromeo, co-skipper Caligdong, del Rosario, Johnsson, Guirado-Aldeguer, Araneta, Lucena, James Younghusband, Jason Sabio and Yanti Bersales.

Palestine topped the Bracket standing after winning over host Myanmar, 3-1. Myanmar started a 1-0 advantage in the early minutes of play but was not able to hold on to their lead and eventually bowed to the visiting Palestinians.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 26, 2011.

Limpag: Let’s all have fun, fans

IF YOU are looking for updates or my take on the Bangladesh game, I’m sorry to disappoint you, you won’t find it here.

I usually write my columns 48 hours before deadline, so I won’t give the hardworking sports editor any fits and last night’s game was just a tad too late. (I could’ve stretched the deadline and rushed a piece, but I’m afraid the sports ed would hit a homer off my head if I get 11 minutes late.)

But I hope, the Azkals won against Bangladesh last night, and I hope they make it to the Challenge Cup final stage. (They won, 3-0. —Editor)

By the way, since the Feb. 9 game in Bacolod, I’ve encountered the “bandwagon fans vs. real fans” argument a few times already and I always say one thing, there shouldn’t be any distinction among the fans.

How they come to love the Azkals shouldn’t be a factor.

And if they are more enamored with certain players than the team, well, that shouldn’t be held against them in the same way that Justin Bieber fans shouldn’t be faulted for liking Justin Bieber, right?

But considering how this argument keeps propping every now and then, this is going to be a regular treat in football talks.

Some of the arguments are quite serious—why Pinoys are suddenly into football because of the Azkals—while some, are somewhat hilarious, especially when one fan questions another’s right to comment on stuff by asking, “How long have you been a football fan?”

So are bandwagon fans bad for the sport?

More Sun Star Cebu

Medvil FC to represent Davao

THE Medvil Football Club edged WT-FM via penalty shootout, 4-3, in the Acer U-23 Cup to earn the right to represent the Davao Football Association (DFA) in the PFF-Suzuki Southern Mindanao Cluster Championships next month.

Joining Davao in the Mindanao tournament scheduled from April 1-3 are the Davao del Norte FA and Compostela Valley FA.

Medvil reached the finals of the Acer U-23 Cup after beating Columbia FC, 1-0, on Raymond Paresa's strike in the 76th minute.

WT-FM won over KMMPC, 2-0, in the other match to arrange a date with Medvil.

Medvil and WT-FM are set to renew their rivalry when they go up against each other in one of semifinal matches of the Ebocci-Davao Premier League on March 27 at 2 p.m.

Playing in the other semis encounter set at 4 p.m. will be Columbia and Hooligans.

Meanwhile, four Palarong Pambansa gold medal performers will lead Davao City's title-defense in the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet football competition set in Tagum City on April 10 to 14.

Palaro champion coach Ramonito Carreon named Emar Learning School standouts Jomar Acedo and Francis Jay Abrasaldo, Ateneo de Davao University's Francis Patrick Lim and Danilo Lascu¤a as his reliable veterans.

"Our team is doing good in training. We have more new players now since most of the Palaro players have graduated already. But the team's morale is high. The players are ready to compete," Lalas told Sun.Star Davao in the vernacular.

Carreon's Davraa team won the secondary boys championship in the 2010 Palaro held in Tarlac.

Davraa also won golds in secondary arnis, elementary girls tennis and taekwondo events in the national sportsfest last year.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 26, 2011.

AFC Challenge Cup - qualified teams

Qualified team for AFC Challenge Cup finals in 2012

Group A : Palestine and Philippines
Group B : India and Turkmenistan
Group C : Maldives and Tajikistan

Group D : Nepal , Sri Lanka , North Korea and Afghanistan have qualifiers in Nepal in April

The finals are scheduled for 3. to 18. March 2012

Winner get a place in AFC Asian Cup 2015

Azkals beat Tigers, enter Challenge Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals barged into the 2012 Challenge Cup finals by hammering out a sensational 3-0 victory over the Bangladesh Bengal Tigers on Friday.

Filipino-Spanish striker Angel Aldeguer Guirado was a revelation for the Azkals after scoring 2 goals in the second half of the game taking place at the Aung San Stadium.

Guirado’s first goal came early in the second half after heading in a shot from Ian Araneta. He followed this up by striking another goal in the in the 80th minute.

Earlier, Araneta scored the first goal in the 41st minute of the game after picking up a loose ball off Guirado.

The Filipino booters started out aggressively, launching a full attack against the Bengal Tigers. The aggressive play resulted to an early injury stoppage that had Bangladesh’s Zahid being carried off the field.

Guirado and Chieffy Caligdong also made sure to keep the Bangladesh defense busy by closing in several goal attempts.

The Filipino squad also put up an excellent defense with team captain Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario and Ray Jonsson clipping Bangladesh’s wings.

The Azkals had a scare in the first half when Bangladesh nearly scored on a loose ball. Fortunately, Filipino-British keeper Neil Etheridge came out to clear the ball.


24 March 2011

AFC Challenge Cup match Philippines 3-0 Bangladesh FT - Philippines qualify for 2012 AFC Challenge Cup finals !

AFC Challenge Cup match Bangladesh vs Philippines

1-0 41 min Ian Araneta
2-0 55 min Angel
3-0 80 min Angel

Friday 25. March , 15.30 Local time (17.00 Philippines)

Livescore : futbol24.com and spbolive

Livestream/TV : Not known

Twitter from Myanmar : DYANCASTILLEJO and CEDELFPT , Craig Burrows

Pic of Aung San Stadium

News and comments , before ,during and after match !


Update :

Philippines :
Del Rosario, Borromeo (C), J Younghusband, Aldeguer, Sabio, Jonsson, Lucena, Barsales, Caligdong, Araneta

Subs: Gener, Margarse, Espinosa, Tuason, Hinrichsen, S Greatwich, Sacapano
Not playing: Gier, Ferrer, Camcam, Basa, Becite

Final standings :

Palestine 7 points
Philippines 5 points
Bangladesh 3 points
Myanmar 1 point

Top two qualify for finals. Palestine and Philippines qualified.

Subs :

77 min Gener in Caligdong out
83 Min S. Greatwich in Barsales out
90 +1 min Tuason in James Younghusband out

Attendance : 200

Match Summary AFC

Philippines (Azkals) v Myanmar - AFC Challenge Cup 2012 Qualification Group Stage Highlights

Azkals fight for dear life

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals must beat Bangladesh Friday if they hope to advance to the main draw of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup next year.

To survive, the Filipinos will have to go through the proverbial eye of the needle since they will be battling a dangerous Bangladesh side in their last group qualifying match at the Aung San Stadium in Rangoon, Myanmar.

Although ranked way below the Azkals in the FIFA world standings, Bangladesh showed a glimpse of its potential when it stunned host Myanmar, 2-0, on Wednesday night.

Against Myanmar, the Azkals could only manage a 1-1 draw last Monday.

The Azkals are ranked 151 while Bangladesh 174th.

Compounding the Azkals’ woes will be the absence of midfielder Simon Greatwich.

The 22-year-old Filipino-British, who earned his first yellow card on Monday, will sit out Friday’s game after being slapped with a second yellow for diving in the penalty area of the Palestinians, who held the Azkals to a scoreless draw the other night.

Game time is 5 p.m. (Manila time) and the Azkals can’t afford to lose or even settle for another draw because that will mean the end of their campaign.

A victory, however, assures them one of the two slots at stake in the tournament’s finals next year.

Held to a draw twice, the Azkals are currently at third spot in Group A with two points behind Bangladesh (three points) and Palestine (four points), which have the best chance of advancing. Myanmar is at the cellar with a point.

The PH-Bangladesh tiff will be held simultaneously with the closing Myanmar-Palestine clash in a different venue to avoid manipulation of the results.

A victory over Bangladesh will give the Azkals five points and a spot to the next round regardless of the outcome of the other match.

But if the Azkals lose or settle for a draw, they will be eliminated.

Midfielder Chieffy Caligdong and newcomer Yannick Tuason showed flashes of offensive and defensive brilliance, but it proved not enough to topple the tall Palestinians on Friday.

“I’m satisfied with the result,” Azkals German coach Hans Michael Weiss was quoted as saying. “I have seen a very strong Palestine team that we really had to endure. It was not an easy match.”

Manila Bulletin

Gier to skip Azkals match vs Bangladesh

RANGOON – The Azkals will be one man short in tomorrow's do-or-die match with Bangladesh.

Rob Gier, the steady defender, flew home to England this afternoon to be with his wife, Emma, who is experiencing a delicate pregnancy.

The 30-year-old Gier arrived in Myanmar only last Sunday to help out with the team, and it had been agreed upon that he would play only to matches.

He played a key role in the team’s first two games here, draws against Myanmar and Palestine, and would have wanted to stay if not for the urgency back home.

Some of his teammates tried to convince him to stay.

“But I can’t. It wasn’t an easy decision because I had to choose. Is it the team or my wife?” said Gier shortly before leaving the hotel for the airport today.

“I would have loved to stay. But my wife needs me,” he said.

The Giers are expecting their first child.

“It was great of him to come here when there are priorities back home. He came here to boost the guys,” said Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo.

“He’s one of the most experienced players in the team and it’s always good to have him out there. I tried to convince him to stay but it was understandable,” he added.

Before leaving, Gier hoped that after two successive draws they will be able to nail the victory that would send the Azkals to the next round.

He looked back at the first two matches as matches that could have gone either way.

“I think those two games, we could have won. But those were two matches we could have also lost. We had chances in both games,” he said.

Coach Michael Weiss, for his part, said he has yet to decide whom to tap to take Gier’s position.


Tryouts for girls born 1994-1996

from PFF :

Final schedule of tryouts for girls born 1994-1996:
Manila, 25 March 2011
Cebu, 27 March 2011
Bacolod, 29 March 2011
Davao, 30 March 2011

Please bring a NSO-certified birth certificate copy, passport copy (if available) and 8 passport-size photos.

For other concerns, please contact Coach Buda Bautista at +63 923 552 6337

Cebu teams off to San Carlos today

By Marsante G. Alison
Cebu Daily News

The Cebu boys 13 (B13) and girls 14 (G14) football teams will be leaving for San Carlos City today to see action in the Visayas regional finals dubbed Festival of Football, which kicks off tomorrow.

This tournament will also serve as the selection for the B13 and G14 national teams which will see action in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Festival of Football on June.

The RP B13, to be tagged “Little Azkals,” will compete in the AFC U13 Festival of Football from June 1 to 6 in Malaysia. The RP G14, on the other hand, will play in the AFC Festival of Football from June 1 to 14 in Vietnam. Both national teams will be sponsored by the DRBSports.

The Cebu B13 team will have Springdale’s Mario Ceniza as head coach while the Cebu G14 will have Eleazar Toledo as head coach.

Ceniza said that 17 of the B13 players were members of the Cebu B12 team that won the championship in last year’s Visayas regionals also held in San Carlos City. He added 15 of them have joined the Central Visayas Regional Athletics Association (CVIRAA) meet and will represent Central Visayas in the upcoming Palarong Pambansa in Dapitan this May.

The Cebu B13 is expected to go up against Iloilo, Dumaguete, Negros Occidental and San Carlos City.

Coach Toledo, on the other hand, said his G14 team is expected to play against Iloilo, Dumaguete and Leyte.

23 March 2011

PH Azkals settle for second draw

Cedelf P. Tupas

RANGOON—The Philippines, defending stubbornly against a tall, physical Palestine team, settled for a scoreless draw Wednesday, leaving the Azkals with no recourse but to nail a victory in their last group qualifying match in the AFC Challenge Cup.

Lacking the quality to finish several chances, the Azkals, amid cheers from the Burmese fans, walked away from the Thuwana Stadium with another point after frustrating the favored and unbeaten Palestines in a cagey duel played mostly at midfield.

It was undeniable, however, that the Azkals also had their chances.

They were lucky enough not to have fallen behind in the first half, before producing another improved display in the final 45 minutes.

“I’m satisfied with the result,” said Azkals German coach Hans Michael Weiss. “I have seen a very strong Palestine team that we really had to endure. It was not an easy match.”

The result leaves Palestine in control of the group with four points with the Azkals, who were denied a victory by a last-minute goal against Myanmar Monday, in second with two points after two draws.

The Azkals play Bangladesh on Friday, needing a victory to at least gain five points, giving them a clear shot of qualifying for the main tournament next year.

Scenario now is a must-win for Azkals regardless of result of Myanmar-Palestine match after Bangladesh stunned Myanmar, 2-0.

More Inquirer.net


The PFF shall be holding open try-outs for women football players born 1994-1996 in preparation for the upcoming ARAFURA Games which will be held on 07-14 May 2011 in Darwin, Australia. Please find further details below:

WHEN: 24-25 March 2011, 1500H-1700H

WHERE: Ateneo de Manila College Football Field

REQUIREMENTS: NSO-certified birth certificate

Passport Copy (if available)

8 pcs. passport-size photos (white background)

Player's Registration Form

You may contact the following coaches if you have questions/concerns:

Coach Buda Bautista - +63 923 552 6337
Coach Lelet Dimzon - +63 923 723 0351
Coach Jo Loren - +63 922 841 2090

AFC Challenge Cup - Match summary

Subs :

59 min Barsales in , Araneta out
62 min Tuason in , S. Greatwich out
82 min Tuason out , Gener in

Yellow cards :

Del Rosario, J.Younghusband and S. Greatwich

Attendance : 500
Temp. : 30 degrees

more AFC website

Palestine holds Philippine Azkals to goalless draw

MANILA, Philippines – The Palestinian Fighters held the Philippines Azkals to a goalless draw in their Challenge Cup group stage match in Yangon, Myanmar on Wednesday.

The Azkals struggled hard to get past the taller Palestinians, who dominated the first half of the game.

Filipino-Spanish player Angel Aldeguer Guirado, who took the place of injured striker Phil Younghusband, had the best scoring attempt for the Azkals in the 62nd minute, with his header saved by the Palestinian goalkeeper.

Chieffy Caligdong and Rob Gier also had near successes at the Palestinian goal.

The Fighters deployed a lone striker, 5-man midfield formation to block the Azkals' passing lanes.

The Palestinians' counter-attacks also caused problems for the Filipinos.

Their shots hit the crossbar several times, almost catching Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge asleep.

It was a rough game for both squads, prompting Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss to substitute 3 of his players near the end of the match.

Caligdong, who had a man-of-the match performance, limped out of the field in the 88th minutes.

The Azkals now have 2 points on 2 straight draws in the single-round qualifying series. The Filipinos earlier settled for a 1-1 draw against host nation Myanmar.

The Azkals will now have to secure a crucial win against Bangladesh on Friday to raise their total points to 5.

Palestine currently leads the group with 4 points on 1 win and 1 draw.

Myanmar currently has 1 point through the draw with the Azkals.

Bangladesh has no points yet. Myanmar and Bangladesh will also play on Wednesday.


Philippines 0-0 Palestine

Yangon: Palestine took a step closer to the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup on Wednesday when they drew 0-0 with the Philippines to remain undefeated after two of their three qualifying Group A matches.

The Palestinians, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2006 edition, came closest to breaking the deadlock at the Youth Training Centre Stadium with Murad Eleyan, scorer of both goals in his side’s 2-0 win over Bangladesh in their qualification campaign curtain-raiser, hitting the post in the 18th minute.

The Azkals, meanwhile, struggled to get into their stride with their best effort of the match coming in the 64th minute when skipper Emelio Caligdong saw his close-range effort blocked before the 28-year-old’s Philippines Air Force team-mate Yanti Basrales, a 59th minute substitute for Ian Araneta failed to convert the rebound.

The Philippines, who conceded a stoppage-time goal to draw 1-1 with Myanmar in their opening match, take on Bangladesh on Friday while Palestine face a tough finale against the Group A hosts.


22 March 2011

AFC Challenge Cup - Philippines 0-0 Palestine FT !!

AFC Challenge Cup match Palestine vs Philippines

Wednesday 23. March , 15.30 Local time (17.00 Philippines)

Livescore : futbol24 and spbolive

Twitter from Myanmar : DYANCASTILLEJO and CEDELFPT

Azkals in Myanmar ABS CBN News

Palestine : Palestine beat Bangladesh 2-0 in first match on Monday and will be qualified for finals with a win against Philippines.

Myanmar meet Bangladesh is second match on Wednesday at 18.00 Local time


Update !!

Playing :
Etheridge, Gier, Del Rosario, J Younghusband, Borromeo, Aldeguer, Caligdong, S Greatwich, Araneta, Jonsson, Lucena

Subs: Gener, Barsales, Margarse, Sacapano, Sabio, Espinosa, Tuason

Not playing: Ferrer, Hinrichsen, Camcam, Basa, Becite

News and comments before , during and after the match ! Post in comments

17 booters impress coach in PFF Festival of Football

A TOTAL of 17 players impressed national coach Oliver Colina in the PFF Mindanao Festival of Football held at the Deca Homes Resort and Residences (DHRR) soccer field last March 18-20.

Darius Diamante, Javier Romero-Salas, Lorenzo Magno, Miguel Aquino, and Jake Bryan Ferolino of Davao City, as well as Agusan del Sur's Eric Pocon and North Cotabato's Mark Platon, Raymond Suano, Lawrence John Camiring, and Rene Boy Palabrica were among the top performers in the boys U13 class.

Janna Barcemo, Nina Ricci Yanto, Mary Joy Indac, Rheza Caminade, Ester Megami Vilela, Gabrielle del Fierro and Mica Corrales were selected to the girls U 14 training pool.

Davao Football Association (DFA) general secretary Erwin Protacio said the players will undergo another stage of the selection process for the national teams seeing action in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U13 Boys Festival of Football in Malaysia in May, and in the AFC U14 Girls Festival of Football in Vietnam in June.

Catalunan Grande's Yanto, Ateneo de Davao University's del Fierro and Barcemo formed part of the national team last year.

Butuan City and Sultan Kudarat also joined the festival at DHRR where participating teams received balls courtesy of the Japanese Football Association (JPA) during the opening rites.

Former Fifa referee Jaime Nicolau, meanwhile, conducted a two-day refresher's course to the officiating officials before the start of the festival that was held in cooperation with Department of Education, DHRR, Barangay Mintal, Barangay Tacunan, Mintal Police Station, 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, Office of the City Mayor, Medvil Farms Inc., UP Mindanao, and Representative Isidro Ungab.

From Davao, the next selection is set on March 25 to 27 in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 23, 2011.

Baguio Football - Philex Pine Cup to see more teams this year

AT LEAST 16 teams in the men's open are expected to suit up as the Philex Pine Cup 2011 gets underway on April 9 to 12 at the Baguio Melvin Jones Football grounds.

The 11-a-side tournament in the four-day contest is expected to lure top football teams from all over the country while the ladies division has eight teams joining the fray in the competition hatched by the Baguio United Football Club.

Also joining are teams from the 18 and under division and the age group competition in the event in cooperation with City of Baguio, Department of Tourism-Cordillera sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and the Baguio-Benguet Football Association (BBFA).

Entry fee for the men’s open, 18 and under and ladies open will be at P2,500 while the seven-a-side age group competitions will be at P1,000 per team.

Last year, the tournament also saw a two-day football clinic in the hopes of popularizing the sports and train would be football players in this part of the country.

Teams from as far as Tarlac, Uminggan, Pangasinan State U, Laguna, Manaoag, and Agoo suited up last year for the men's open division and boys 21 under category.

This year, more teams are expected to join the tournament as it hopes to bring in a more competitive level of football not only in the city but all over the country as well.

FIFA rules will also apply in the tournament unless specifically provided by the tournament rules according to organizers.

Tournament format will be a single round robin match with the top four in every division advancing to the semis. All games in the semis and finals will be 45 minutes long while elimination games last for 30 minutes.

The Men’s 18 Under and the Ladies Open will see action starting April 9 while the age group tournament will be from April 11 to 12.

Interested teams who wish to join the tournament may send an e-mail to baguio united@gmail.com for invitation packet. (Roderick Osis)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 23, 2011.

Azkals hope to rise above draw, tackle Palestine

Cedelf P. Tupas

RANGOON— A Philippine team slowly finding fluidity in its play faces a formidable Palestine side considered a heavy favorite in the AFC Challenge Cup group stage qualifying here.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. (5 p.m. in the Philippines) at the Thuwana Stadium with the Azkals looking to build on their superb second-half performance in the 1-1 draw against host Myanmar.

The draw still stings for the Azkals, considering that Myanmar managed to sneak in a “lucky goal” in the final minute of injury time.

But skipper Aly Borromeo and team manager Dan Palami challenged the Azkals to forget about the result and shift their attention to Palestine, which debut impressively in a 2-nil drubbing of Bangladesh.

A victory will put the Azkals in prime position to gain one of the two spots staked for the main tournament next year.

Palestine is on top of the group with three points, while the Philippines in Myanmar share second with a point each.

“Palestine will be very difficult,” said Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss, who considered the Azkals lucky to have escaped with a draw against Myanmar.

A loss could put the Azkals in danger of another exit from the qualifying tournament, like three years ago in Iloilo City. The Azkals will still face Bangladesh on Friday.

Although the Azkals have not played Palestine, several players watched the opening minutes of the Palestine-Bangladesh duel Monday and expressed confidence that they can overcome the Middle East team.

“Palestine will be the most difficult game in the group,” goalkeeper Neil Etheridge told the Inquirer.

“They will be a big challenge mentally and physically but we have a good chance of winning against them.”

Boosting the Azkals’ chances is the arrival of Filipino-Danish player Jerry Lucena, who will finally make his debut for his father’s country, after playing for Denmark at the youth level.

With Lucena’s arrival, the starting XI could change again for the Azkals with Borromeo returning to his centerback position beside Rob Gier after playing the defensive midfield against Myanmar.

Lucena could pair up with Simon Greatwich, whose passing and tackling proved crucial for the Azkals in the second half against Myanmar, in the holding midfield position.

Anton del Rosario, who played centerback last Monday, will return to rightback behind James Younghusband, while Ray Jonsson will play behind Chieffy Caligdong again at the left.

Yanti Barsales, who made an impact as a second-half substitute, has been given the go-signal to play despite the bruises on his chest and the cuts near his jaw following an ugly tackle from the Myanmar keeper.

Angel Aldeguer Guirado, who dazzled the crowd here with his skill and pace, skipped training Tuesday but is expected to make another start.

Palestine, Borromeo said, plays a more direct game and the Azkals could counter this by playing more on the ground.

“Palestine looks the more physical and formidable side. We can’t be too overaggressive,” said Borromeo. “I think we can play on the ground and combine well to beat them.”

Borromeo said getting their rhythm early will be key, unlike what happened against Myanmar where they struggled to settle in the first half.

“We want to make sure we continue where we left off in the second half of the Myanmar game,” said Palami. “We have developed a very good passing game as shown against Myanmar. It’s just really about putting ourselves on that mode early in the game.”

Palami added: We should get over the draw. I think it's important we get the three points against Palestine so we could be more relaxed against Bangladesh on Friday.”


PFF list of players to AFC

PFF list of 48 players sent to AFC , where they picked 23 players to represent Azkals in group stage in Myanmar.


Davao Football - WTFM edges Medvil

JOVEN Benitez's goal in the 85th lifted WTFM to a 1-0 win over Medvil in the resumption of the Ebocci-Davao Premiere League at the Tionko football grounds on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, WT-FM grabbed the solo lead of the team standings with a total of nine points for its three wins, zero draw and one loss record.

Medvil (0-3-1) dropped to fourth place with three points.

In an earlier game, Columbia hacked out a 5-3 win over Kapisanang Magkaibigan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KMMPC).

Francisco Iligan scored a hattrick for Columbia, finding the net in the 43rd, 68th and 82nd minutes. His teammates Absser Tadtokasan and Aldin Taborin added one goal each.

KMMPC scored on the goals of Jestoni Felipe (21st), Ian Jay Sonza (61st) and Amon Casimiro (76th).

The semifinal matches are set Sunday with WT-FM playing Medvil at 2 p.m. and Columbia (2-1-1) going up ahainst Hooligans (2-1-1).

At stake for the champion is the right to represent the city to the Southern Mindanao cluster of PFF-Smart Club Championships next month. (MLSA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 22, 2011.

Studio 23 - Myanmar vs Philippines

From PFF :

Barring any flight delays, ABS-CBN Sports will air MYA-PHL match tom.( March 23) at 10:15 p.m. (replay on Mar. 24, Thurs., 3 p.m.) on St. 23. Video quality is far from the best as it was shot by MRTV.

21 March 2011

Azkals held to draw by late injury time goal

Cedelf P. Tupas

RANGOON – A resolute Philippine side came tantalizingly close to another famous victory away from home only to be given a dose of its own medicine.

Rescued by late equalizing goals so many times in the past, the Azkals were the ones to yield Monday – this time to Myanmar – and settled for a 1-1 stalemate at the start of the group qualifying phase of the AFC
Challenge Cup at the Thuwana Stadium here.

James Younghusband gave the Azkals the lead with a well-taken penalty kick in the 76th minute to silence the crowd of about 5,000, but Khin Maung Lwin saved the home side’s blushes with a free kick in the
second minute of injury time.

It was a heartbreaker of sorts for the Azkals, who defended stoutly in the opening half before producing timely, dangerous counter-attacks in the second half.

Three minutes of injury time, however, was enough for Myanmar to carve up a scoring chance.

Skipper Myo Min Tun fell to a soft challenge from Greatwich and Khin rolled the ball under the Philippines wall and beyond Neil Etheridge at the bottom corner.

The stadium exploded on Lwin’s late goal, while the Azkals left the pitch in despair just after the final whistle.

It was the third straight draw for the two sides in the past four years, the other two ending on scoreless stalemates.

The Filipinos are still on track of claiming one of the two slots staked from this group for the main tournament next year. The Filipinos play Palestine on Wednesday and Bangladesh on Friday.

“It was the correct result,” said Azkals German coach Hans Michael Weiss. “We dominated the second half but we were too defensive in the first half.”

The Azkals had Neil Etheridge to thank for a string of impressive saves in the opening half, while Angel Aldeguer Guirado impressed in his Azkals debut with his pace and trickery.

It was Guirado’s lofted ball for substitute Yanti Barsales that proved vital in the play that led to the penalty.

The oldest member of the squad at 38-years-old, Barsales, coming in for nephew Ian Araneta at the start of the second half, had been causing trouble for the Burma defense with his speed and he was first to latch unto Guirado’s ball, forcing the Myanmar keeper to go off his line and unleash a clumsy challenge that led to a red card and a penalty.

Younghusband, who was also on target in the 1-2 defeat to Mongolia last week, sent substitute keeper the wrong way.

A small group of Filipino fans in the stadium waved flags and exchanged high fives as the Filipinos moved a goal ahead with a man advantage.

Guirado nearly doubled the lead with a stinging shot just outside the box three minutes later, while substitutes Yannick Tuason and William Espinosa found themselves with plenty of space, but could not muster a
good chance that could have sealed the victory.

The Azkals were the better team in the second half as Simon Greatwich and Aly Borromeo pulled the strings at midfield while Guirado and James Younghusband provided the attacking threats together with Barsales.

Playing with renewed purpose after hardly mustering a clear-cut chance in the first half, the Azkals started making inroads on attack in the 66th minute when Greatwich managed to receive Younghusband’s cross only for his effort to be blocked by a phalanx of Burmese defenders.

Another chance went begging a minute later when Barsales’ close-range effort went over the bar, before Guirado forced a corner by using his exquisite touch to elude two defenders.

Those moves proved to be a portent of things to come and the sustained pressure for nearly 10 minutes finally paid off with Younghusband’s goal.

The Azkals played the 4-2-3-1 formation for the first time with Anton del Rosario pairing up with Rob Gier at the back and Borromeo moving up to play the holding midfield spot with Greatwich.

With the midfield clogged, the Burmese side raided the flanks and conjured at least seven chances from either side in the opening half.

Midfielder Pai Soe had Roel Gener beaten in the ninth minute and found himself in a one-on-one opportunity against Etheridge. But he sent his shot wide.

Soe had another effort flying past the goal two minutes, before testing Etheridge with a long range effort in the 14th minute.

Guirado, who plays third division in Spain, was providing the early threat for the Azkals and his scintillating 20-yard run highlighted by a couple of stepovers showed why he was a worthy replacement for Phil
Younghusband in the starting 11.

The Azkals were on the backfoot for almost the entire first half before coming to life in the second.

“The first half I did not recognize my team because we have Myanmar a lot of space,” said Weiss. “Myanmar could have been away from us in the first half, but we made changes in the second half.”

Myanmar’s tough-talking Serbian coach Milan Zivadinovic expressed disappointment over his squad’s performance.

“I know you are not happy with the result,” he told Burmese reporters. “I’m also not happy with the result but I have many more questions for players on what happened in the second half. We should have been up,
3-0, in the first half.”