MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Iranian winger Misagh Bahadoran, one of the national football team's new recruits, admitted that training in the past couple of weeks had been a hellish experience, but he’s not complaining.
At one point, the 24-year-old dentistry graduate from Centro Escolar University vomited after an exhausting running drill presided by German coach Hans Michael Weiss.
But the Azkals, training for their first-round World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29, are not taking any chances.
As they arrive in Frankfurt, Germany tonight, the Azkals expect their training to go a notch harder.
The Azkals will stay in Duren for a two-week training camp which will serve as the final phase of their preparation.
Team manager Dan Palami, credited for the Azkals’ phenomenal rise, said they are set “to train five to 10 times harder,” citing the training regimen of boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao as inspiration.
“We want to follow his (Pacquiao) principle,” said Palami, a self-confessed Pacquiao fan who watched the ring icon's latest triumph against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. “It's really training 10 times harder so when the game comes we will be ready in speed and stamina. We want to ready the players as if they will play three straight games.”
Saranggani Rep. Pacquiao is famous for his mantra: “If you train hard, the fight is easy.”
The Azkals, unruffled by the E. Coli outbreak that hit Germany, will have four friendly matches against formidable second and third division German clubs.
They get their first acid test when they play their first friendly match on June 15 opposite a squad composed of fourth and fifth division players based in Duren.
Next will be an Under-19 squad from Bern on June 17, before taking on a second Bundesliga team FC Ingolstadt five days later.
The team wraps up its preparations on June 24 against newly-promoted German third division team Darmstadt Achtung 98.
The 23-man crew flying to Germany includes new recruits, Fil-Am striker Nathan Burkey, Fil-Am centerback James Rochlitz, and Fil-Dutch attacking midfielder Paul Maulders.
The newbies will join goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Manuel Ott, Rob Gier, Angel Guirado, Rey Johnsson, Jerry Lucena, Stephan Schrock, Ian Araneta, Aly Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdong, Anton Del Rosario, Roel Gener, Nestor Margarse, Edward Sacapano, Jason Sabio, Richard Becite and Phil and James Younghusband.
Swiss goalkeeping coach Pascal Zuberbuhler will link up with team in Germany.