UWAIT CITY, July 20: A huge crowd of Filipino Azkals fans trooped to the Salmiya Club football field on Wednesday evening to witness the practice of the Philippines Azkals as part of their preparation before they face the Al Azraq Kuwait National Football Team on Saturday evening at the Qadsia Club Stadium in Hawally for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
“We anticipate the difference in temperature again coming from Bahrain, but we have adjusted well today,” disclosed Azkals Coach Michael Weiss as the Azkals geared up for the practice.
The Azkals were divided into two groups as they played against each other just to get acclimatized to the Kuwait weather as the fans cheered on, chanting the names of their favorite players. Eduard Sacapa?o was the goalkeeper of one group while Paolo Pascual was the goalkeeper of the other group. Joining the practice were Anton Del Rosario, Aly Borromeo, Roel Gener, Jason Sabio, Emelio Caligdong, Misagh Bahadoran, James Younghusband, Phil Younghusband, Manuel Ott, Angel Aldeguer, Ian Araneta, Nathan Burkey, Jason De Jong, Yannick Tuason, Simon Greatwich and Patrick Hinrichsen. Two more players, Neil Etheridge and Ray Johnson are set to join the group in their next practice, informed Azkals coordinator Ace Bright.
“Good weather, nice pitch and a nice crowd,” cited De Jong when asked by the Arab Times on how did he find the practice.
The fans mostly armed with their cameras were all ecstatic to see the Azkals in action. After the practice, Kuwait Football Association (KFA)Public Relations Officer Talal Al Malkey with the help of Embassy official Abdulhalim Langco tried to organize the fans into groups so they can have a chance to have some souvenir shots with the Azkals. However, the fans got too excited as they tried to get near the players, causing some ruckus among the crowd, prompting the KFA and embassy officials to cut short the photo opportunity for the fans.
“We really appreciate the overwhelming support of the Filipinos in Kuwait to the Azkals. We are happy to see them here, however, sometimes, our players also get distracted during the game especially when someone calls their names from the crowd. That’s inevitable and we can’t stop the fans from doing that. But we also want them to understand that they’re here for a tough game and they have to focus on the game. We really want to thank everyone for the support and we hope all Filipinos would be there on Saturday to cheer for us,” pointed out Azkals Manager Dan Palami.
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