07 December 2011

Azkals eye European pros for AFC

ANILA, Philippines - Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami expressed confidence the team can borrow the pros from their European clubs for the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign in March 2012 in Nepal owing to a “favorable schedule” for Phl XI.

The Azkals face a tough task in Group B, taking on reigning titlist North Korea on March 9, 2012, former champ India two days later and inaugural edition winner Tajikistan on March 13.

Naturally, they would need the quality and experience of Euro-based booters like Stephan Shrock, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Dennis Cagara, and Neil Etheridge to handle the opposition and meet their target of at least a semifinal finish.

“The biggest challenge, of course, is to bring all the players together. We’ve seen already that when we’re complete, we’re competitive, we can hold off strong opposition,” Palami said.

“I think the game schedule has actually been favorable to us. We have games on the 9th, 11th, and 13th. In this case, the players will just be missing one game for their clubs and this is something we can haggle with their clubs so they’ll be allowed to participate,” he added.

The Challenge Cup does not fall under the Fifa calendar days so Palami would have to work extra hard to convince the club owners, managers and coaches of the concerned Azkals to release them.

“I think there’s a big possibility that at least most of the players will be allowed to play. If we can get these players, I think we could be very competitive, “ said Palami, who will leave for Europe soon for this purpose.

Michael Weiss, the German who took over the helm last January, will continue to call the shots for the Azkals as Palami expressed satisfaction with his performance despite “some debacles.”

“At the end of the day, we must understand that a football team as well as its performance is affected by several factors, variables. And one of the biggest hurdles is cohesion. We still rely on foreign-based players and they come in a day or a week before tournament, so it’s difficult to blame the coach for lack of cohesion,” Palami said.

He counted the gains made under Weiss, under contract for one more year.

“In this particular year under coach Weiss, we managed to actually for the first time, qualify for the Challenge Cup, come home better in the Long Teng Cup, and also got to the second round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time. Of course, we also had a very disastrous result in the SEA Games and as I say, there are a lot of variables in play,” he said.

“I think we need to eliminate the most obvious ones, including the failure to get all players, first, before we evaluate coaching staff. We need to address the first and if we don’t get what we want, we’ll seek other options, including the coaching staff,” he said.



  1. I dont think Stephan Schrock, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders or Dennis Cagara will be in AFC Challenge Cup. They are bonus players , and should never be expected in AFC Challenge Cup or ASEAN Championship. Do they really think that players that are needed for the club will be released even for one match ?

  2. in danP's thoughts about variables vs cohesion, if cohesion is made as focal point in training, that should cancel out or at best minimize the intangibles. and you're right johny, there's loads of risks that club owners face each time they release a player and i think injury is foremost, isnt it?

    what im thinking is that sometimes its difficult to ascertain which side of danP speaks each time he comes out with something. obviously PR is part of his gig and the idea of these foreign-based players coming over to play really sells. from the couch, let me tell ya, if these three players made it here last Dec 3, we would have made the LAGxy a run for their money. in the same notion looking at how our "depleted" Azkals got steamrolled by LAGxy, i think danP is a worried man.

    but really at this point i bet they already know what the realistic scenario is and maybe just trying to push the envelope a bit more.

  3. Why do they always make it seem like Palami owns the national team like a club and he's the one calling the shots?!?

    Palami is supposedly satisfied with Weiss, so he stays... Palami doesn't like something, it ridden or is changed... Palami wants this, Palami wants that.... it always seems it has to be to his wants, likings and standards.

  4. enlighten us. convice us otherwise. who "owns" the national team? what would you do if you were mr palami. let's hear it...

  5. A little thing DSP should remember about Euro based players is that missing a club game means being replaced. If the replacement shines he's likely to keep his place for the next game(s).
    Life can be tricky when you're a pro.

  6. 9:55 you are spot on. a threat to livelihood in otherwords. but for these foreign-based Filipinos who really want to play here but couldn't, that must tear them up big style.

  7. "enlighten us. convice us otherwise. who "owns" the national team? what would you do if you were mr palami. let's hear it..."

    Nobody owns a national team. You trying get an answer as to who I think owns it just shows how much of a Palami ass kisser you are. It's like you consider him to the godfather of Philippine football and you follow and accept everything little thing he says and does.

    The closest a national team has to being owned is by the FA, the PFF in this case. If a decision has to be made if the coach should be sacked, it should come from someone, perhaps the head of the national teams department if there is one, definitely not by the team manager.

    If I were Palami, I would be more behind the scenes. I wouldn't always be in the media as he is like some attention seeking whore. And I wouldn't be talking as if I owned the national team. That's just for starters.

    Anyway....... Mulders would probably be the most realistic to get released as e's only a squad player for his club. While Palami is at it, he should try and get Kristoffer Eide. The Norwegian season is done and doesn't start until April.

  8. 10:33, the "ass kisser" bit is just low, dude. but i'm not gonna get in your bashing game right now coz i just had a huge breakfast and I had a good sleep last night. you raised interesting point so i'll reply in a civilized manner.

    personality wise, do you know of any one in particular that can pick up that slack in case we don't have dan palami? chief of PFF araneta, maybe? what can a team manager do and not do? would we be all comfortable in our couches if nobody says anything about something? a press relations officer would be a great idea, you think?

    can you get your emotions out of the discussion and talk like a man?

  9. Getting the euro-based Filipino pros to play for the AFC Challenge Cup would be a huge boost for the national team, but still, they would need longer time to stay to train with the team.

    Anyway, about Palami, I think we should be grateful to him for giving the Azkals a hand from the corrupted pit of the past PFF administration. This gives the confidence and right to call the shots for the team. However, this should not be for long as the national team will be more of privatized entity. The real boss of the Azkals is the Filipino people but as of now, Palami is.

  10. Power to the People! If only...
    Pretty sure the PFF constitution is no different to any other F.A. The NT manager is chosen by a Board Selection Committee and the coach/coaches is/are selected by, and subordinate to, the manager.
    If Palami was re-appointed at the recent PFF conference he's in full charge until the Board Committee decides otherwise.

  11. ok 2:02, and is speaking to the media prohibited by this constitution?