28 July 2011

Win or lose, Azkals to stay busy after qualifying game


MANILA, Philippines — There's so much to look forward to for the Philippine football team whether it advances or not to the third round of the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup.

At least three tournaments are lined up for the Azkals in the next four months that will keep the team busy until the end of the year.

The Azkals were playing Kuwait's Al-Azraq at presstime in the second leg of their second round qualifying series at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, facing a gargantuan task of overhauling a 0-3 deficit before the home crowd.

Regardless of the outcome, Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Jr. and team manager Dan Palami are both convinced that the team has already made great strides in the sport, coming along way from just ‘minnows’ in Asia and Southeast Asian neighbors to an emerging and developing football power.

“Whatever happens, facing Kuwait has already cemented the development of the team considering that a few months ago we have not imagined playing against them,” Palami said.

“We are actually making great strides in the sport. I think that fact that we’re facing Kuwait, an Asian Cup champion, a one-time World Cup finalist and a Gulf champion, is already a great testament.”

Araneta said fans and critics should not forget that the Azkals, down three places at 162 in the latest International Football Federation (Fifa) rankings have already made a lot of heads turn when they made Philippine history by reaching the second round of the World Cup qualifiers.

The Azkals have crushed Sri santiagoLanka on 5-1 aggregate in the first round early this month to reach the second round – a feat no Philippine team has achieved since the country started competing in the World Cup qualifiers in 1950.

Araneta said the Azkals are set to compete in the four-team Long Teng Cup in Taiwan in September against Hong Kong, Macau and the host nation.

In October, the PFF will host a four-nation invitational tourney with Malaysia and Singapore confirming participation and the last slot going to either Thailand or Vietnam. The event will be sponsored by Asia Brewery Inc.

In November, Azkals coach Michael Weiss will lead the Under-23 football team in its bid to win a first ever medal in the men’s football competition of the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia slated from Nov. 11-22 in the capital of Jakarta and Palembang.

Manila Bulletin


  1. Kagaw says:

    Palitan na si Weiss

  2. ...after watching last night's game, i think stamina and mental toughness is the key for our team to win games with the style of play they did against KUWAIT. It is really tough to play defensive and attacking the opponent as well...AZKALS will be a powerhouse team, i think at the SUZUKI cup and CHALLENGE cup next year... "WE STILL BELIEVE"... :)

  3. “We are actually making great strides in the sport. I think that fact that we’re facing Kuwait, an Asian Cup champion, a one-time World Cup finalist and a Gulf champion, is already a great testament.”

    Funny how Palami keeps trying to hype Kuwait over and over and over again digging into their successful old history like in 1970's and 80's. Why not then hype Indonesia as one-time World Cup finalist (1938 as Dutch East Indies) and Myanmar as one-time Asian Cup runner-up (1968) ? lol


  5. Kuwait is not football powerhouse in Asia, the real powerhouse are Japan, Australia and South Korea. FYI, Kuwait is beatable by any ASEAN powerhouse like Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. For example, Indonesia draw with them four times during Asian cup 1996, 2000 and qualification round 2011.


  6. Long Teng Cup is gonna be fun. Hong Kong won it last year even with their U-23 squad but it's gonna be different this year. We're a different team, and in fact, so is Chinese Taipei. They were matched up against Malaysia in the first round of this WC qualifier and they made a 1-2 loss and 3-2 win, tied at 4-4 on aggregate but failed to advance as M'sia had one more away goal. This shows how fast they're improving too. They would've lost like 1-8 on aggregate 5 years ago.

    I believe we can be the top favorite if only can bring our best players, which however i think will not happen. Players like Schrock, Lucena, Mulders, Ott, Jonsson etc won't be sent by their clubs since Long Teng Cup is just a minnow tournament.
    Nevertheless, we have great chance to win it with or without players said above.

  7. Kuwait WAS a real powerhouse in Asia but it's just too old story, from 1970's to 80's. Their success at Asian Cup and WC qualification were all achieved during that period. Forget about Gulf Cup. Even Oman wins it.

  8. to anonymous:
    what is really your objective assessment of the team? that they have not improved? that all their practices are just for a show?
    your bashings make you sound pathetic and halatang may gripes against the team. ikaw na maging manager kaya, coach at the same time player! hahaha sobrang galing mo kasi bok kung magsalita.

  9. Kuwait is one of the better Asian sides. Agree, powerhouses are Japan, Australia, South Korea. But Kuwait can beat every team in Asia on a good day and can upset the big 3. Even Japan and South Korea had always a hard time in fighting with the Gulf teams and the results were mostly close. Well of course Thailand, Indonesia won against Kuwait (like the one writer said above) and draw in the past but they also got a lot of defeats...and they have negative records vs. them. Only Thailand was able to go along with them when the team was on its peak which is now no more the case. Like one writer above said: we need stamina and mental thoughness. I agree. The match showed again clear that we just can compete and be concentrated for 60 to 70 minutes. It was the case in Kuwait and in Manila as well. That we kept it close was also a merrit of Schrock (not only because of the goal) and Aly in the defense. I am sure that we wouldn't have lost yesterday when Lucena and Mulders participated....as they have more experience and can keep that pace. We are still lacking in the depht of the team. If you substitute Phil or Chieffy or Schrock we don't have an alternative player with the same quality. That need to be worked on in the future. I am proud of the Azkals what they have achieved so far.....even some might criticise it always (=> why not go on the pitch yourselves?). I someone said 1-2 years ago we can keep it close to Kuwait I would have called him crazy. We should give the team some more years and we will see where we are now. A good chance is the Challenge cup ...when we can field the best squad we have the chance to win it (with a little bit luck of course). The strongest side might be North Korea but maybe they won't send the best team (like they used to do in the qualifiers and in the past). I believe the Azkals can do it. Period.

  10. AFC Challenge Cup is in March and not on FIFA match dates. Schröck , Lucena , Cagara and Mulders will not be there . Maybe Jonsson and Etheridge if club release them.

  11. Etheridge? Depends if he'll be out on loan.