06 December 2011

Azkals to play more friendlies vs Euro clubs

MANILA, Philippines - After capping what they perceived as a “very successful year” with a losing game against David Beckham and MLS Cup titlist LA Galaxy, the Philippine Azkals are eyeing more friendlies against international teams next year, including possible matches against European clubs.

“We’re looking at a very busy calendar for 2012, which is all part of our plan to really allow the Azkals to play together in more games and achieve chemistry,” Azkals team manager Dan Palami said during yesterday’s PSA Forum.

Major tournaments up in 2012 are the AFC Challenge Cup in Kathmandu, Nepal in March and the AFF Suzuki Cup in Malaysia and Thailand in November, as well as a Cup being planned by a sponsor in May.

In between, the Azkals (159th) will look to arrange friendlies with higher-ranked national teams during the five international match days set by Fifa for 2012, beginning Feb. 29 with Vietnam (134), Malaysia (155) and New Zealand (119) as prospective opponents.

And in the wake of the Azkals’ hosting of Beckham and the Galaxy, Palami bared initial talks with officials of a second or third division Spanish club for a possible friendly tentatively on Jan. 7, also at Rizal. He declined to name the club at this point.

“They (Spanish club) are expanding right now and part of their expansion and promotion program is to look for a country where they can actually do a friendly. And I’m glad that because of the result of our LA Galaxy hosting, I think they’re looking forward to coming over and play the Philippines,” Palami said.

Efforts are also being made to work out a possible friendly with high-profile clubs from England.

“We’re not at liberty to reveal that, as we’re still negotiating. Those are English Premier League clubs, it’s still being negotiated, but hopefully they’ll come over,” he said.

The planned friendly against Vietnam, Malaysia or New Zealand on Feb. 29 – a Fifa date in which all players in clubs are allowed to join their respective national teams – will serve the Azkals in good stead.

Aside from helping achieve cohesion in preparation for their AFC Challenge Cup campaign beginning March 9, the friendly will give the Azkals the opportunity to improve on their ranking.

The Azkals have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, beginning with their 2-0 upset of Vietnam and a star-making semis appearance in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup in Dec. 2010. In 2011, Phl hurdled the qualifiers en route to a berth to the 2012 Challenge Cup main tourney, and for the first time advanced to the second round of the Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers, playing Kuwait.

“Despite some debacles, I think we could fairly say it’s been a very active year, a very successful year for Phl football and we hope to continue the momentum in 2012 and see the true potential of the Phl in so far as the sport is concerned,” Palami said.



  1. He wants a game against high profile EPL clubs. I appreciate the time and resources that Mr. Palami has dedicated to the Azkals, but let's get real. High profile EPL clubs are better than most national teams that make it into the world cup. Most of them have international players who come on as substitutes. Phil and James were in the Chelsea reserves. The Chelsea reserves would beat most teams in the AFC. The trouble with these types of statements is that some people get too high expectations and think the team and coach have failed if they don't win every game against AFC or AFF opponents. The match against North Korea will be very tough. Lets not fool ourselves into thinking that the Azkals are good enough to take on EPL teams.

  2. ^^Yes! Good to know that there are fans that can think properly and therefore are rational.

  3. Yes, they lost 1-6 to LA Galaxy ,who would would struggle against any EPL club.

  4. There are EPL and other teams that do go on tour. I saw Aston Villa play Toronto FC. It was a 4-1 game and Villa left most of their best players on the bench. As bad as a 6-1 loss to L.A. was at least it was a better result than the drubbing they took from Korean and Japanese teams. A high profile EPL team would beat the Japanese and South Korean National team. Ballack was a starter for Germany and a substitute for Chelsea. Does anyone have any idea how much it would cost for a ticket to see an EPL team in Manila? I love that Palami is a dreamer but sometimes it makes sense to keep your dreams private.

  5. I got a feeling danP is just throwing out bones out there for us to .... you know, see how the temperature reacts to them.

    but about mid march this year there were tiny talks about inviting a "big" team over for a friendly match, which turned into LAGxy.

    his genius, to give him credit for it, is in keeping the furnace warm. the fella's got mad marketing skills.i can't see anybody out there that could create scenarios that keep prisoner-of-the-moment fans wanting more. is it fair to say it's good for our football? I think so.

  6. Bring us Arsenal FC. I'd pay 10K to see RVP in action.

  7. they are going to play against 4th div spanish club.. its must be a joke..
    they rather play with some asian clubs.. which azkals cant even beat.
    i tell you LA galaxy cant even win in Champions league in north america.
    and champion of north amarican CL (monterrey, mexico) just lost to japanese club in club world cup few weeks ago..
    btw LA galaxy lost to Melbourne Victory of australia which lost in group stage of Asian CL 2011..
    so its better much better to play some asian club than playing against some unknown team in europe..

  8. It seems to be a reserve team going ? On the Spanish club website they report a Spanish League match on 8. January . Is it really a Reserves team going to Manila ?