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


  1. "...favored over the 173rd ranked Sri Lanka, which the Filipino booters have never played before."

    Yet another example in the growing list of poor research from journalists doing football reports. We've played them twice before, most notably in 1996 which was also a World Cup qualifier.

  2. It would be better that they will train in qatar coz the govt is supportive and they will host 2022. they can do friendly match!

  3. Talking about the stupid ranking thing too much just proves that philippines is a football newbie.

  4. hahaha right! The media is always talking about the FIFA rankings. It's not that relevant. Can they not find even a fan who can write decently? Or find a reliable source and just ask questions? Or use wiki? Maybe they are just using wiki. haha. This is horrible. Times are changing so they need to step up their game. And how come the PFF site is still down? The buzz and the hype is up. Take advantage! WTF, man. WTF.

  5. the PFF site will be inspected too and will be checked if it needs budget for repair. more or less P50 million might be needed to repair it. still waiting for sponsorship.

    they could not even put up a decent web site. that should have been an easy fix. but for people that may have hidden agenda, a PFF web site is a pain in the neck. its the same story folks. no checks. fuckers will become richer, get away with it, and we lose.

  6. You couldn't be more true, blue. I suggested to a
    top PFF bod that a representative from a major
    Azkals supporters' site should be appointed to the Board. I now have to be careful there's no polonium in my tea.

  7. we, the FILIPINO FANS, should be more vigilant, assertive, and loud when it comes to prosperity of FILIPINO FOOTBALL. we are, if we want to as a strong voice, the polonium in these bigshots' teas.

  8. A PFF website at very lucrative football times like these, are you kidding me? Why would they want transparency? WHy would they welcome your criticisms? They're not heroes, you know. They're human beings too. It's part culture, part norm.

    I tell you what, the clock is ticking. I give it two years and if there isn't a clear cut national football program liek one of the posters here says, this football is going down the drain. It's just like the government is all.

  9. Well it's looking as the Azkals will be holding their training camp in Melbourne, Australia (June 7-18), according to this: http://www.malaya.com.ph/mar30/sports8.html

    Hope it's true, because that's where I live! Chance to see the Azkals again after I saw them train in Baguio.

  10. It could be that they have changed plans and dropped Australia..

  11. i want to join your team