By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Azkals will start its campaign in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan as an underdog despite parading a squad deemed strong-er than what it had last year.
The Azkals’ German coach Michael Weiss said the team still lacks cohesion with the entry of several new players.
With Europe-based aces Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock and Paul Mulders unavailable because of club commitments, Weiss is taking a mix of players for the four-nation event starting September 28 at the Kaohsiung National Stadium.
“We’re still lacking in some areas,” said Weiss. “Our preparation lacked consistency. But the positive thing is there are new players ready to take responsibility.”
Weiss said the first match against defending champion Hong Kong on Friday could well determine how the Azkals will fare in the tournament.
The Azkals finished third last year, after winning over Macau (5-0), tying Chinese-Taipei (1-1) and losing to Hong Kong (2-4).
Among the newcomers are brothers Mark and Matthew Hartmann, Fil-Spaniard Carli De Murga, Lexton Moy, and goalkeeper Roland Muller and defender Oliver Poetschke, both Fil-Germans.