30 June 2011

Jerry Lucena

Jerry Lucena played in a friendly yesterday for his club AGF Aarhus . They lost 1-2.

He was earlier expected to be in the starting eleven for Philippines against Sri Lanka same day , but chose to play a friendly match for his club.

Another fil-Danish Dennis Cagara was also not in the team in Sri Lanka.

AGF Aarhus website

Team list Philippines

Team against Sri Lanka on 29. June :

Starting Eleven

1. Neil Etheridge
2. Rober Gier
4. Anton Del Rosario
7. James Younghusband
8. Manuell Ott
9. Paul Mulders
10. Phil Younghusband
11. Alexander Borromeo (capt.)
12. Angel Guirado
13. Emelio Caligdong
17. Stephan Schrock

Subs :

3. Jason Sabio
6. Roel Gener
14.Misagh Bahadoran
15. Ricardo Becite
16. Ray Jonsson (did not go to Sri Lanka)
18. Nate Burkey (in for Phil Y in 40th min , out in 76. min)
19. Nestorio Margarse
20. Christopher Camcam
21. John Patrick Hinrichsen
22. Eduard Sacopano
23. Ian Aranata (in for Nate Burkey in 76.min)



Baguio Football - 1st Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan Football Cup

July 2, 2011 - Grand opening and first official games for the men's open and 7-aside football festival for 8under and 10under.

For invitations, contact baguiounited@gmail.com or Homer 09176246637

Simon McMenemy sacked !

VietNamNet Bridge – Croatian Buketa Ranko has been appointed chief coach of V-League side Dong Tam Long An.

Short stay: British coach Simon McMenemy was sacked by V-League side Dong Tam Long An after a poor performance. (Photo: VNS)

Ranko will replace sacked British coach Simon McMenemy. During his tenure, Long An gained 13 points from 12 matches.

This is the fourth time Long An has changed its manager this season.

The 54-year-old Croatian coach was assistant to the Yemen coach Srecko Juricic last year.

However, McMenemy, 34, who helped the Philippines national football team reach the semi-finals of the AFF Cup for the first time last year, will remain Long An's technique director.

At present, DTLA are bottom of the V-League with 18 points from 19 games.

Vietnam Net

Azkals force 1-1 tie

June 29, 2011, 8:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American midfielder Nate Burkey made a spectacular debut last night, lifting the Philippine football team to a 1-1 draw against a stubborn Sri Lanka side in the first leg of their qualifying series for the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The highly-favored Azkals looked unlikely to salvage anything from the highly-physical game after midfielder Chathura Gunarathna gave the home team the head start in the 41st minute.

Gunarathna silenced a small Filipino crowd when he drove a fierce hit into the top-right corner of the net after the Azkals’ wall failed to block his right-footed shot that slightly hit the head of Rob Gier off an indirect free kick.

Azkals German coach Michael Weiss immediately sent in Burkey to replace ace striker Phil Younghusband, still recovering from a right leg injury.

The switch paid off with almost immediate effect after Burkey headed home a failed header by James Younghusband from close range in the 49th minute.

It was a flowing shot that started from Chieffy Caligdong who struck a gorgeous hit off a freekick.

The 25-year-old Burkey, who traces his roots from Cebu and first played for the Azkals during their local exhibition match against the UFL-All Stars last month, logged just his first international goal for the Philippines.

It wasn’t the kind of ending expected from the Azkals who appear to have the superior attacking skills than their rivals. But the compact defense of the Lankans worked wonders for the home team, which went a man down early in the second half.

“There’s work to be done, but I know we can make the job done in Manila,” Azkals team manager Dan Palami said.

Fatigue seemed to have affected the Azkals’ game, after their offense looked disoriented with players appearing to move slower than their South Asian rivals, who only had two weeks to prepare according to their Korean coach Jang Jung.

But Palami said it was not because of fatigue or over training but because of the irregular level of the field. The Azkals trained for two weeks in Germany for their first World Cup qualifying appearance in 10 years.

It was the second draw for the Philippines in the last seven matches in the qualifiers after earning a 1-1 draw against Laos when the country hosted the game at the Philsports Arena in 2001.

But the Azkals can win at home on July 3 for the return match at the sell out Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, where some 13,000 fans are expected to come in droves, which may include President Aquino.

Playing in a 4-4-2 formation, the Azkals got off to a brighter start in the match that was high on chances, but it was Lankans who came closest to opening the scoring when striker Sharaz Kaiz’s goal-bound header was saved by Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in the second minute.

Both teams played on almost equal footing at the onset as there were plenty of counterattack opportunities in a first half marked by Sri Lanka’s rough game plan that led to heated verbal exchanges.

Three yellow cards were shown, two for Azkals – Aly Borromeo, Fil-German Stephan Shrock – and another for the home team.

The Philippines’ travelling and flag-waving supporters cheered on every pass as the Azkals saw more clear goal-scoring opportunities, but striker Younghusband failed to finish, including two clear goal-scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Philippines dropped three notches in the latest FIFA rankings, slipping to 159 while Sri Lanka slipped two spots down to 171.

Manila Bulletin

World Cup Qualifiers: Philippine Azkals salvage draw versus Sri Lanka

COLOMBO—A resilient Philippine side fought back to salvage a 1-1 stalemate against Sri Lanka Wednesday in the first leg of their opening round World Cup qualifying match at the Sugathadasa Stadium here.

Substitute Nate Burkey, making his debut for the Philippines, headed home James Younghusband’s saved header in the 50th minute to give the Azkals a precious away goal heading to the second leg in Manila on Sunday.

An away goal will only count if a two-leg series ends up tied on aggregate, meaning a scoreless draw will be enough for the Azkals to go through to the next round against Kuwait.

Playing their first World Cup qualifying match in 10 years, the Azkals fell behind on the 43rd minute when Pordi Chathura’s 20-yard free kick beat a diving Neil Etheridge to his right.

It was an eerie reminder of the late equalizing goal that the Azkals yielded to Myanmar in the AFC Challenge Cup in March.

After a quiet opening half, the Azkals, egged on by about 200 Filipino supporters in the stadium, came alive in the last 45 minutes, keeping the Sri Lankans on their heels.

Stephan Schrock, making his Philippine debut, was an influential figure at central midfield and his passing constantly opened up the Sri Lankan defense.

But except for Burkey’s goal, the Azkals lacked the clinical finishing touch to punish the Sri Lankans, who refused to back down, making the match a rugged affair.

One such incident came in the 18th minute when Phil Younghusband was fouled by midfield enforcer Fazlur, triggering a scuffle in the middle of the field.

James Younghusband and got yellow cards in the aftermath of the incident. The Azkals had two other yellow cards – Schrock and skipper Aly Borromeo – who were booked for mistimed challenges.

Phil Younghusband had two glorious early chances saved by Manjula Fernando in the first half, before the Filipino-British striker was substituted by Burkey in the 40th minute for what looked like a hamstring injury.

Putting more pressure on the Sri Lankans immediately after the restart, the Azkals were rewarded with Burkey’s scrappy goal.

Chieffy Caligdong, the only homegrown player in the starting lineup, floated a long free kick into the area that was met by James Younghusband, whose header looked to have crossed the line.

Amid the confusion, Burkey was quickest to react and he banged it home for the equalizer.

Schrock, a standout rightback playing for Greuther Furth in the German second division, was still proving dangerous with the ball and his effort from just outside the box just went wide in the 60th minute.

Another chip pass from Schrock offered substitute Ian Araneta with a late scoring chance, but the Air Force striker managed a weak effort that was easily saved by Manjula.

Just when everyone thought the Sri Lankans were playing for a draw, the hosts managed to conjure one more chance when Nimal fired a bristling shot that draw an impressive reflex save from Etheridge in the first minute of injury time.

The Azkals arrive in Manila Thursday night, leaving them with two full days to prepare for the rematch against the South Asians.


29 June 2011

More tenacious Azkals battle Sri Lankans today

By Cedelf Tupas

COLOMBO—Skipper Aly Borromeo watched the World Cup final pitting Spain and the Netherlands at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg last year and wondered if he would ever play a single match in the sport’s biggest stage, let alone get a shot at making it there.

Borromeo and his fellow Philippine Azkals finally get that precious crack at the tournament starting Wednesday here when they battle Sri Lanka in the first round of the 2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers at the Sugathadasa Stadium in this port city in the Indian Ocean.

“Every football player dreams of playing in the World Cup,” said Borromeo, a veteran of the national side since 2004.

“And ever since I’ve played for the national team, that’s always made me sad because we haven’t sent a delegation even to the qualifiers. We know its a long shot but at least we’ve taken a step closer.”

Kickoff is at 4 p.m. DST (6:30 p.m. in Manila) with the Azkals looking to grab the advantage against an unfancied Sri Lankan side, before the series shifts to Manila on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Although the Azkals have been tipped as favorites to prevail, German coach Michael Weiss said the Sri Lankans cannot be underestimated.

Add that to the fact that the Sri Lankans have played considerably well at home.

“It will not be easy,” said Weiss, who took the squad’s reins early this year. “They have been training for three months and have been playing together for years. No one should think that this will be just a passers-by match. In today’s football, no one should be underestimated.”

Just how tough are the Sri Lankans at home? Weiss pointed out the fact that Kuwait, the Middle East powerhouse that awaits the winner of this tie, managed just a scrambling 1-nil win here a few years ago.

“We are not yet on that level where we can clearly dominate,” Weiss said.

Team manager Dan Palami, who had earlier talked up the Azkals’ chances, said they are approaching the match with “cautious optimism.”

“We don’t know what the conditions will be [today],” said Palami. “Sri Lanka is going to defend their turf the best way they can. We will try to overwhelm them in the first 10 minutes.”

Jang Jung, Sri Lanka’s Korean coach, opted to downplay his team’s chances.

“Our preparation is not enough,” said Jung. “We don’t know the Philippines but it’s going to be a close match.”

The Azkals started their buildup for the match in Manila two months ago and wrapped it up with a high-intensity two-week camp in Germany that gave Weiss a glimpse of the immense attacking potential of the squad as well as its defensive frailties.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, opted to stay in Colombo for its preparations.

Just as the team had feared, Ray Jonsson failed to make the trip here yesterday because of his commitment with his Icelandic club, Grinvadik.

Weiss is expected to tap Paul Mulders, an attacking midfielder, to take Jonsson’s place at leftback in the starting eleven, which will include Borromeo, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, defenders Anton del Rosario and Rob Gier, midfielders Chieffy Caligdong, James Younghusband, Manny Ott and Stephan Schrock and forwards Angel Guirado and Phil Younghusband.


Studio 23 to beam World Cup qualifying match ‘live’

MANILA—ABS-CBN Sports, the official coveror of the Azkals’ international matches, will air the first leg of the Philippines’ home-and-away showdown with Sri Lanka “live” on Studio 23 starting at 5:30 p.m.

Studio 23 will also telecast the country’s “home” World Cup qualifying match at the newly refurbished Rizal Memorial Stadium this Sunday starting at 2 p.m., with a replay on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

26 June 2011

Wednesday : FIFA World Cup Qualifier Sri Lanka vs Philippines

Date : 29. June

Venue : Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo

TV : Studio 23 from 17.30

Match start is 16.00 local time in Sri Lanka according to AFC which is 18.30 in Philippines

News before , during and after match . Line-ups, predictions, greetings etc

Post good livestreams !

Anything related to this match can be posted in comments.

Weather forecast : 28 degrees , breeze . No rain

Azkals bow to Darmstadt, 0-5, but remain upbeat vs Sri Lanka

By Cedelf Tupas

MANILA—The Philippines football team fell in another crushing defeat Friday, this time against German third division team Darmstadt, 0-5, in its final test match before leaving for Colombo for its first round World Cup qualifying date against Sri Lanka.

The Azkals, who lost 0-4 to second division side FC Ingolstadt Wednesday, got off to another jittery start and paid dearly for it.

They fell four goals behind in the first 25 minutes in a match that reportedly drew around 500 spectators, most of whom are Filipinos based in Frankfurt.

Again missing the services of experienced players Ray Jonsson, Stephan Schrock and Jerry Lucena, who are tied up by club commitments, the Azkals surrendered one more goal in the second half.

The Azkals thus finished their Germany camp with two wins and two losses. The first victory came against Duren selection, 4-1, that was followed by a similar 4-1 win over Bonner SC Under-19.

Skipper Aly Borromeo said he was satisfied with their buildup in Germany which, a source said, cost P7 million.

“We learned a lot and we can only use this as motivation to step all over Sri Lanka,” said Borromeo in a text message to the Inquirer.

“Camp has been good aside from the traveling and the playing every other day.”

Borromeo said the matches against the strong German clubs have given the Azkals an opportunity to “fine tune everything before the actual match.”

Striker Phil Younghusband, who scored three goals in the four matches in Germany, couldn’t hide his disappointment about the loss, but said several factors have to be considered.

“Obviously we are very disappointed to lose,” said Younghusband. “We’ve had four games in 10 days and traveled for over 35 hours in the past 10 days and the conditions have been different.”

“We have played against four teams who are all of better quality compared to Sri Lanka and we have won two out of four games which should give us confidence,” said Younghusband.

The Azkals were scheduled to fly to Colombo Saturday, before the first leg clash on Wednesday.

The return leg is slated July 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, which is playing host to a major international football match for the first time since the 1991 Southeast Asian Games.


PH football renaissance feeding off Azkals’ rise

MANILA—Vic Sison has seen all of this happen before.

At one time, Philippine football was actually relevant, and winnable even in international levels. So that if it had never lost its foothold in the country’s sporting scheme of things, the now-famous and well-loved Azkals would be underachievers at best.

Sison was the goalkeeper of the last national squad that turned heads on the Asian scene.

The year was 1958, when the third Asian Games was held in Tokyo. The country’s football squad, generations away from being labeled Azkals, marched straight into the belly of the beast and beat Japan, 1-0.

Of course, Japan then was not Japan now, so “beast” might be slightly stretching it. But Japan football now traces its roots to that game.

“Losing to the Philippines was really tragic for [the Japanese],” Sison told the Inquirer. “In the local Japanese paper, the sports section had headlines that suggested that the Japanese players commit hara-kiri.”

Sison smiled at the recollection.

More Inquirer.net

25 June 2011

FIFA World Ranking June - Philippines down 3

FIFA World Rankings will be released on June 29 , but the website Football Rankings announced that Philippines will be dropping 3 to number 159 .

Sri Lanka will be dropping 2 to number 171.

Football Rankings

More tickets for Azkals-Lankans tiff

June 25, 2011, 2:20am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Football Federation announced Friday that it may sell 700 more bleacher tickets for the Azkals and Sri Lanka FIFA World Cup qualifying match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Bonnie Ladrido, chair of the organizing committee for the July 3 match, told the Bulletin that 95 percent of the tickets, including the P200 and P300 bleacher tickets are already sold out.

But he said they are likely to release 700 more bleacher tickets, which will come from the allotted 1,000 tickets for the Football Federation of Sri Lanka.

Under FIFA rules, eight percent of the total 12,873 seating capacity of Rizal should be alloted for the visiting Sri Lanka squad.

Ladrido said the Sri Lanka Embassy had only asked for 300 tickets last week and the PFF has given the Embassy only until Friday to decide whether or not it will get the remaining tickets.

But as of presstime, the Embassy had not asked for the remaining tickets.

“It’s already unlikely that they will still ask for the remaining (700) tickets because if there were high demands for it, they would have asked for it earlier,” said Ladrido, who is also the PFF treasurer.

The Azkals will meet Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo for the first leg of the home-and-away series with the return match taking place in the 77-year-old venue.

Manila Bulletin

24 June 2011

Today : Azkals 0-5 SV Darmstadt 98

Today SV Darmstadt 98 vs Azkals

Fr, 24.06.11, 18:00 Uhr
(Sportpark Heimstättensiedlung, Winkelschneise 9, 64295 Darmstadt)

Darmstadt 98 website

Info about the club : wikipedia

Azkals vs Ingolstadt

Strong FC Ingolstadt dominates Phl Azkals

MANILA, Philippines - As expected, Bundesliga second division side FC Ingolstadt 04 provided the biggest test for the Azkals in their ongoing training camp in Germany, dealing Phl XI a 4-0 beating in a rain-delayed tuneup early Thursday in Ingolstadt, Bavaria.

Midfielder Andreas Buchner opened up scoring for the Schanzer in the 14th minute, followed up by a header from Fabian Gerber five minutes later as the German pros quickly seized control against the Azkals, who played without leftback Ray Jonsson and Stephan Schrock.

Not even 10-minute rain interruption could turn the game around as the Azkals conceded a third goal – an own goal – at the 30th minute. Azkals keeper Neil Etheridge, according to a report on the Ingolstadt website, lost control on the wet pitch and accidentally “steered the ball into their own net.”

Ingolstadt found the net anew in the 40th minute to settle the issue and gave the Azkals, in deep preparation for their Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo, a reality check.

“We can only gain from the loss and look to get better!” co-skipper Aly Borromeo said on his Twitter account. “The loss was good for us, I say. They (Ingolstadt) were a decent side with a ton of experience.”

The Azkals, who previously scored identical 4-1 victories over Duren Selection and Bonner 19-Under sides, will wrap up their two-week training in Germany with a test match against third division side Darmstadt 98 on Friday.

Meanwhile, organizers of the second leg in Manila said the Rizal Memorial is all set for hosting on July 3 – rain or shine.

In fact, the Rizal pitch is in such a good condition that Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta declared it will still be the venue should the Azkals make it to the second round against Kuwait.

“If we qualify for the second round (of the WC Asian qualifiers), definitely we’ll hold it here at Rizal,” he said during a media tour yesterday.

“For logistics purposes, it’s difficult to use another venue. And we have spent around P3.4 million to renovate Rizal, it would be a waste if we use it for just one game (against Sri Lanka).”


Sri Lankans to give Azkals 'torrid time'

MANILA, Philippines - The Sri Lankan football team admitted lagging behind in training against what its coach labeled as “a difficult opposition” but vowed to give the Philippine Azkals a “torrid time” in their upcoming 2014 Fifa World Cup Asian qualifier.

“We commenced training late (already) due to a delayed selection process. However, we are in a positive frame of mind to counter the challenge before us,” Brave Reds coach Jang Jung said in a report on Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror.

Veteran defender Rohana Ruwanthilake leads the 25-man roster tasked by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) to do battle with the Azkals on June 29 at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Senior players Chathura Gunaratne, Nadeeka Pushpakumara, Fazul Rahuman and Mohammed Izzadeen are expected to provide experience to the Sri Lanka side,which according to skipper Ruwanthilake is composed of “young players oozing with talent.”

“All of them have gained experience playing international matches and are determined to give a torrid time for the visiting Philippine side,” skipper Ruwanthilake said.

Other members are Kavindu Ishan, Tuan Rizni, Sujan Perera, Manjula Fernando, Sampath Bandara, Shafraz Kaiz, Thilanka Nandasiri, Sanka Dhanushka, K. Sutharshan, Lahiru Tharaka, Mohamed Zain Ismath, Nagoor Meera, P.J. Chaminda, Dilki Kumara, Kolitha Lankesara, Bandara Warakagoda, Shafraz Nazar, Chameera Kirishantha, Nuwan Priyantja, Nimal Antoni, and Chathura Gunarathna.

“Our main target is to perform well in the first leg, which will be played on home soil,” said Ruwanthilake, who plays for Saunders SC in the Sri Lanka FA Cup, the South Asian island nation’s premier football tournament.

The Brave Reds will go up against a Phl side that’s beefed up by Fil-foreigners with experience in professional leagues in Europe and the US and currently training in Germany. And Sri Lanka’s Korean coach is well aware of this.

“They (Azkals) have grown very fast and are going to be a difficult opposition for us. They have prepared very well for this tournament,” said Jung.


Rizal can only seat 13,000

MANILA, Philippines - Organizers of the Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka on July 3 will limit the spectators to around 13,000 to avoid overcrowding the 70-year-old Rizal Memorial Football Stadium for the highly anticipated Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers match.

Cathy Rivilla, general coordinator for the home match, said after installing individual seats at the grandstand and painting dividing lines in the bleachers in accordance with Fifa’s seat measurements, the Rizal venue can only host a capacity of 12,873 spectators.

The lower grandstand and VIP areas (blue section) will accommodate 1,872; the upper grandstand (yellow section) will seat 2,870; and the bleachers will have 8,131.

“We’re making sure we’re within the regulations of Fifa, as there’s certain required widths on the seats. We don’t want to have an over-capacity, like what happened in Panaad; It would be a security nightmare,” Rivilla said, referring to the Azkals’ last home match in Bacolod where the venue was cramped like sardines with some 18,000 people.

Minus the individual seats in the grandstand and demarcation lines in the bleacher section in the old days, the Rizal Memorial can pack as many as 20,000 cramped fans.

“With 12,000 to 13,000 seats (now), not every one can come in,” Rivilla said.

The organizers will also enforce strict security measures, prohibiting items like cigarettes and lighters, laser pens and pointers, balloons, candles, fireworks and pyrotechnics, alcohol, illegal drugs, large chains, bracelets, wallet chains and metal buckles, glass bottles, PET bottles, cans and large plastic containers.

Umbrellas would likely be disallowed, so those at the bleachers section would be exposed if its pours.

“We encourage people to bring raincoats and hats. We discourage bringing of umbrellas because it would block the viewing and also for safety purposes,” Rivilla said.

Renovations and preparations of the hosting at Rizal are in full swing while the Azkals are stepping up on their training in Duren, Germany.


19 June 2011

Wednesday : Azkals 0-4 FC Ingolstadt

Philippines will play FC Ingolstadt (First team) on Wednesday in Gerolfing . The match was previously scheduled for Monday but moved to Wednesday

FC Ingolstadt play in German 2nd league.

Fc Ingolstadt website


Vacation in Philippines

I'm on vacation in Philippines, mostly on Dinagat Island. My blog will be not regulary updated this month.

Rains may spoil RMSC football duel

Manila, Philippines - Preparations are in full swing for the Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka on July 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, and yet there’s one thing organizers will definitely have no control of.

“It’s the weather,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, who’s making sure that the historic stadium will be in its top form for the highly-awaited soccer match.

“I hope the weather cooperates. Majority of the seats won’t be covered and people will get wet,” he said, considering that the match will be held in the rainiest days of the year.

The Philippine Football Federation under Mariano Araneta is at the helm of the preparations for the match expected to draw a crowd never been seen in local sports for a long time.

They expect a crowd of 15,000 to 20,000, mostly soccer fans who will even come in from the provinces. The last time a crowd that big came to the stadium was during the 1991 SEA Games.

If the rains fall during the match, only those seated in the VIP sections, where tickets cost as much as P3,000 each, will have a roof above their heads.

Garcia said they’re ready to host probably the biggest soccer match in the country.

The Azkals are now in Germany preparing their tie against the Sri Lankans, who will host the opening match on June 28.

“Everything else is covered. The plastic chairs are ready and the open bleachers have been painted. The field will be closed starting next week so the grass will grow greener,” said Garcia.

The restrooms, the PSC chief, have been refurbished and he said over 50 portable toilets will be in place.

The match will take place in the afternoon, at around 4 o’clock, but the other day workers were seen testing the lights at the stadium just in case a need arises.

“The Manila police is also mapping out its traffic plans along the main roads of Vito Cruz and Adriatico, and we have recommended just closing them, and let the people walk in,” said Garcia.

He said letting all the cars come in will only make it very difficult for traffic enforcers to control later on after the match.

“We are doing everything to make things run smoothly,” said Garcia.


Azkals rap Bonner U-19 nine

By FRANCIS SANTIAGOJune 18, 2011, 6:44pmMANILA, Philippines — The national football team showed another glimpse of its attacking might, pounding out a 4-1 drubbing of the Bonner Under-19 squad on Saturday for its second straight friendly match victory in Germany.

Strikers Phil Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong, Fil-German Stephan Schrock and Ian Araneta scored a goal each as the Philippine Azkals, complimenting well with their new Fil-European teammates sustained their impeccable form before an enthusiastic Filipino crowd.

Proving that their 4-1 win against a Duren selection on Wednesday was no fluke, the Azkals immediately took control with a 3-nil lead at the half.

The Azkals are preparing for the first round qualifying tie against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo and July 3 in Manila.

“I want to thank the Filipino community in Germany for the overwhelming support shown when they came in droves to cheer for the Azkals! Salamat po!” team manager Dan Palami tweeted after the victory.

Meanwhile, team officials are making sure that the players know the lyrics of the Philippine national anthem by heart.

In fact, the Azkals will be divided into three groups for a singing contest Saturday night.

Manila Bulletin

17 June 2011

Today : Bonner SC U19 1-4 Azkals

Azkals won 4-1 today against Bonner SC U19 team at 19.00 Germany time.

Goals : Araneta, P. Younghusband, Caligdong and Schrock

Starting eleven : Etheridge, Gener, Del Rosario, Postchke, Jonsson, J Younghusband, Schrock, Ott, Caligdong, Guirado, P Younghusband

Bonner SC

6 Germany-based PH Azkals begin training with team

SIX Germany-based Filipino players, led by prized find Stephan Schrock, have started training with the Philippine Azkals, who are currently in Duren, Germany for a series of tune-up matches against German football clubs as part of their preparation for the 2014 World Cup Qualifying matches against Sri Lanka.

Already recovered from his injury, the 25-year-old Schrock has started scrimmaging with the Azkals, who will play their first tune-up game against Juni Association, a team based in Duren on June 15, Wednesday.

Coach Hans Michael Michael Weiss said Schrock’s presence will be a big boost to the Azkals.

“He is a fantastic player,” said Weiss of Schrock, who plays right back for 2nd Bundesliga club SpVgg Greuther Fürth.[

Schrock, a former mainstay for Germany’s national squads in the under-18, under-19 and under-20 levels, expressed his desire to play for the Azkals, while he was in Manila last March to fix his passport.

The Azkals also welcomed five other Fil-Germans in Mark Drinkuth, Patrick Hindrichsen, Manny Ott, Patrick Reichelt and Oliver Potschke.

Meanwhile, all is not well in Sri Lankan football, following reports that the Football Federation of Sri Lanka is set to make major changes in the line-up of the Brave Reds. The planned revamp stemmed from the recent news that three members of the team remained suspended over allegations of game-fixing since May.

In an online article of Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, the football federation said that veteran forward Kasun Jayasuriya and another club player have been suspended over their involvement in the alleged match fixing within their Premier League.

Peter Atencio

MAnila Standard Today

Azkals whip Duren selection in Germany


THE Philippine Azkals began their tune-up series in Duren, Germany with a bang by whipping a Duren-Niederau selection 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Striker Phil Younghusband scored two goals while winger Chieffy Caligdong and Phil’s elder brother, midfielder James, had a marker each in the exhibition match.

The match was the first of five tune-up games aimed to toughen up the nationals for their Asian World Cup qualifier against Sri Lanka that starts in Colombo on June 29.

"Good win against Duren tonight, 4-1 for Azkals. Team slowly getting their act together," national team manager Dan Palami said in a message on Twitter after the game.

"Well done boys, this is the first step, now the next stop," James Younghusband said in a separate tweet, a sentiment echoed by co-captain Aly Borromeo, who said: "Good a.m. Pinas. Happy with the result today. Things are starting to fall into place."

Aside from the Younghusbands, Caligdong and Borromeo, among those that started for German coach Michael Weiss were Filipino-Spanish striker Angel Guirado, Fil-Germans Stephan Schrock, Oliver Poetschke and Manuel Ott and Fil-Dutch Ray Jonsson.

The Azkals will stay in Duren until June 25 before leaving for Sri Lanka the next day for the first leg of their home-and-away playoff against the Red Devils, as the Sri Lankan booters are known, two days later.

The rematch between the two squads is on July 3 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

Meanwhile, PSC chief Richie Garcia yesterday said everything is on target in the renovation of the Rizal Stadium for the Philippine-Sri Lanka match.

"Everything is on schedule, the seats and bleachers at the grandstand or covered area all in place," Garcia said in the regular POC- PSC radio program on DZSR Sports Radio.

"We just finished two rest rooms at the grandstand and we are fixing two more," Garcia said. "We also will set up around 50 portalets around the stadium for the fans who will watch the game.

"We aim to close the stadium and the field soon so it will be ready for the home game of the Philippines," Garcia said, adding the PSC and PFF are coordinating with Manila authorities for security measures during the game.


Azkals drub Germans in friendly

June 16, 2011, 11:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The national football team showed none of the sluggishness against a Philippine club selection it played against two weeks ago when it routed a German team, 4-1, in a friendly match Wednesday night in Duren, Germany.

Filipino-British striker Phil Younghusband struck twice while his brother, James and Chieffy Caligdong scored one apiece as the Philippine Azkals frustrated the German side composed of fourth and fifth division players based Duren.

It was the kind of performance team manager Dan Palami had hoped for the Azkals, who looked a shadow of their potential when they were beaten by a local side before some 10,000 fans.

Palami vowed they will “train 10 times harder in Germany” to avoid a repeat of their 4-3 loss to the United Football League-selection, which exposed some defensive lapses in their formation.

“(The) team (is) slowly getting their act together... Good win against Duren selection tonight,” Palami said on his Twitter after the victory.

Ecstatic over the win, skipper Ally Borromeo said the team is getting into fighting form in time for its first-round qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo.

“(I’m) happy with the results today. Things are starting to fall into place,” Borromeo said also on his Twitter.

The second leg will be held on July 3 at the newly renovated Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, where a crowd of 18,000 are expected watch.

The Azkals, who arrived in Germany Sunday night, are expected to play their second of four friendly matches Friday against an Under-19 squad from Bern.

Meanwhile, Azkals coordinator Patrick Ace Bright said team officials are making sure the players know the lyrics of the Philippine anthem by heart. He said the team, a mix of local and Fil-foreign players mostly from Europe, will be divided into three groups for a singing contest on Saturday. The winning group bags 1,500 Euros (about P90,000).

Philippine U14 booters end Vietnam campaign

MEMBERS of the Philippine U14 Girl’s Football Team are back in the country Thursday after finishing with a 3-5 win-loss card in the just concluded Asean Football Confederation (AFC) Festival of Football played in Vietnam.

After posting a 2-3 record on Monday, the young Filipinas only snatched a victory in their last three games on Tuesday to end their campaign at 3-5.

The nationals blanked Guam 3-0 in their last outing but bowed to South Korea, 0-8 and forced a draw with host Vietnam, 2-all, but the team lost on aggregate points.

This is the second year that the nationals joined this prestigious event.

According to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Women’s Committee, the participation of the young national team is part of its long term program to uplift the quality of the ladies’ game in the county.

The national team is composed of 22 members, seven of whom comes from Negros Occidental.

These players are Riza Isabelle Rodriguez Carmona, Mary Jojiel Dechimo Junco, Janice Uy Pia Samillano and Edniela May Salem Sijub of San Carlos City; Noelle Mikaela Leonardia De Asis and Irish Oliveros Navaja of Bacolod City, and Thea Claire Javellana Concepcion of Talisay City.

Completing the list are Joannah Marie Embalsado Adao, Michaela Celine Syliangco Adriano, Cassandra Bleu Vanessa Hassig Alleje Alexi Nina Bolcan Arrieta, Shannon Alaine Guevarra Arthur, Janna Raizel Teruel Barcemo, Martie Cinelle Adigue Bautista,Maria Teresa Galvez Bernardo, Louise Gabrielle Macabenta Del Fierro, Ma. Pamela Denise Sta. Ana Diaz,, Karissa Mariel Syliangco Enriquez, Kristiana Ciara Bollozos Pickering, February Gae Aragon Saluria, Ma. Beatrice Isobel Castaños Velasco and Nina Ricci Sausi Yanto.

Directing the team is head coach Robert Manlulo while Melissa Chris Marquez is the team’s goalkeeping coach and Rafael Lizares Jr. serves as team manager. (JSG)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 16, 2011.

Azkals' arriving for camp

HE much-anticipated visit of the Philippines' men's national soccer team, who are more popularly known as the "Azkals", was made official last night.

The Bahrain Football Association (BFA) received yesterday written confirmation from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) that the team's trip will be going ahead. The letter was signed by PFF general secretary Ramon F Manuel.

The "Azkals" are scheduled to be in Bahrain between July 13 and 19. During their stay, they will play two friendly matches, either against Bahrain's men's national team or the kingdom's under-23 Olympic soccer team.

The first tune-up will be held on July 15, to be followed by the other two days later. The venue for the games has yet to be confirmed, but they are expected to take place at the National Stadium in Riffa.

More details of their trip are to be released soon by organisers, including the complete roster of players who will be in the kingdom as well as information on events that will be organised for fans to meet the players.

"We are very happy to say that we have received the letter from the PFF which we have been waiting for, and now the Philippine team's visit to Bahrain is 100 per cent confirmed," a high-ranking BFA executive told the GDN last night.


The official noted that the national federation is delighted to be welcoming the "Azkals" to Bahrain, and that BFA vice-president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa is most especially interested in the visit. Shaikh Ali is personally overlooking the organisation of the Philippine team's stay.

The BFA official added that this first-of-its-kind trip for the "Azkals" to Bahrain is a wonderful opportunity to further enhance relations between the kingdom's Filipino community and all soccer lovers on the island.

Gulf Daily News

SEA Games football in Manila?

June 13, 2011, 11:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — There’s a possibility that the Philippines may end up hosting the football tournament of the 26th Southeast Asian Games.

Indonesia will host the region’s biennial meet from Nov. 11 to 25 in Palembang and the capital city of Jakarta, but it may not be able to stage the football competition if the International Football Federation will suspend its local federation for its failure to hold a scheduled election last month.

Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Jr. said if the Football Association of Indonesia’s (PSSI) gets suspended, there’s a big possibility that SEAG organizers may opt to open the hosting chores to ASEAN members.

“We’re open to that possibility (bidding to host the football event) because we are qualified,” Araneta said. “But first we have to wait for the FIFA decision.”

Araneta said the country is more than capable of hosting the event, citing the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City and the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila as possible venues. When the country hosted and ruled the 2005 SEA Games, the 15,000-seater Panaad Stadium was utilized as football venue.

The sanction won’t only bar Indonesia from playing in FIFA-sanctioned events, including the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and any Asian Football Confederation club competitions, but would also keep the football-loving nation from competing in the sport in the biennial meet.

Reports said the looming suspension stemmed from the PSSI’s failure to elect a new set of officers when its scheduled election on May 20 was called off.

FIFA has given PSSI more than three chances to reset its election, but to no avail, leaving the July 6 schedule as FIFA’s last straw.

Anticipating a suspension scenario, the Malaysian football officials have reportedly made its intention to host football by sending feelers to the SEA Games Federation Council.

Complications may arise from the suspension, though.

Despite the brouhaha, Araneta said the PFF will push through with the formation and preparation of the men’s Under-23 national team, saying they have already came out with 40-man pool which he said may train in the Middle East – either in Kuwait or Qatar – as part of its final buildup.

Manila Bulletin

Azkals’ training in Germany going well

MANILA, Philippines — Except for the sudden departure of newcomer Paul Mulders due to the death of his father, the Philippine football team’s training camp in Germany has been smooth sailing so far.

“We are just on our second day, but things are looking up,” team manager Dan Palami told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an overseas call.

“The team is really focused, the guys are getting time to really interact with each other on and off the pitch, which is important to the cohesion that we want to achieve here.”

The Azkals are in Duren, a small city near the Dutch border and three hours away from Frankfurt, and veteran defender Anton del Rosario said there’s never been a better atmosphere than in camp.

“Great field, awesome weather and real soccer balls,” said Del Rosario on his twitter account.

“Everyone is confident,” said striker Phil Younghusband. “We have a strong team.”

The Azkals face a selection team Aachen-Duren at Duren Stadium at 7 p.m. Wednesday. They will play the Bonner Selection at the Bonner-SC Stadium on Friday. The match against second division team Ingolstadt is set on June 20 in Grundelfingen. The last match against Darmstadt 98 is set on June 24.

Mulders, a Filipino-Dutch attacking midfielder, had to leave camp abruptly on Monday and return to his home in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, following the death of his father.

It wasn’t immediately known when Mulders will return to camp, but Palami hopes the Fil-Dutch standout will be able to join the team in its last two tune-up matches in Germany.

“It’s unfortunate but we have to consider Paul’s situation,” said Palami.”Hopefully he could rejoin the team before leaving for Sri Lanka.”

Day One of the Duren camp marked the first time that Stephan Schrock, the highly touted left fullback, trained with the Azkals.

Known as an aggressive defender who likes to go forward, the 24-year-old Schrock, an experienced player in the second Bundesliga, whose mother hails from Cebu, has long been in the Azkals’ wishlist.

Angel Guirado, Ray Jonnson and Manny Ott also joined the training session, their first since the Azkals started preparing for the World Cup qualifying first round match against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo and July 3 in Manila.

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge also rejoined the team Tuesday, after a short trip to England, following the death of his grandfather.

Filipino-German prospects Oliver Poetschke, Patrick Reichelt, Patrick Hinrichsen and Mark Drinkuth also joined the camp, although they were not in the 22-man list for the World Cup qualifiers.

Filipino-Danish midfielder Jerry Lucena will link up with the squad on June 16. Dennis Cagara, however, remains doubtful if he could join camp and play in the first leg against Sri Lanka.

inquirer sports

Philippine U14 booters blank Cambodia

KEEPING their hope in the tournament alive, members of the Philippine U14 Girl’s Football Team yesterday blanked Cambodia, 3-0 in the ongoing Asean Football Confederation (AFC) Festival of Football played in Vietnam.

Nina Ricci Sausi Yanto scored the Philippines’ first goal in the 12th minute of play to post a 1-0 lead in the ball game. Janice Uy Pia Samillano scored another goal in the 24th minute for a 2-0 advantage.

With two minutes left before the first half wound up, Casandra Alleje added the squad’s third goal, giving the Philippines a 3-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, the Philippines kept their tight defense, denying every attempt to score by the Cambodians.

The Philippines’ win over Cambodia improved its record to 2-3.

Today, the nationals will be challenging South Korea at 9 am and host Vietnam at 4 pm. (JSG)

Sri Lanka confident of beating Azkals

MANILA—The president of the Sri Lanka Football Federation has expressed confidence that Sri Lanka will beat the Philippines in their home-and-away matches in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge.

The first match will be played at the Sugathadasa Stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000, on June 29 while the return match will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on July 3.

Sarath Weerasekeram, a member of Parliament, told the Inquirer recently that he’s “very positive” Sri Lanka will win on aggregate and that an intense “two-week training will suffice.”

While promising to “play attacking football” against the Azkals, the football official indicated the Sri Lanka team is prepared “to adapt depending on the opposition strategy.”

He said the team would rely on “quick counterattacks and composite play up front” against the Azkals, whom he described as a promising team in the Asean which qualified in the AFC Challenge final rounds.

The coach of Sri Lanka is Jang Jung of South Korea who has been handling the squad since October 2010.

Jan took what was described as a “new look” team on a three-week tour of South Korea for an extensive training program last year.

The team played seven training matches as a buildup to the pre-Olympic tournament and the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round matches.

inquirer sports

13 June 2011

SEAG row not stopping Azkals

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has set in motion preparations for the country’s quest for the elusive Southeast Asian Games men’s football medal in Indonesia even as the sport’s staging hangs in the balance with the host federation under threat of suspension.

PFF president Mariano Araneta said 40 players, composed mostly of local standouts and reinforced by Azkals Simon Greatwich and Jason de Jong, have been nominated to the Phl under-23 pool, with training stints in Kuwait and Qatar eyed.

“The pool will start training on June 22, and they are divided into the Luzon and Visayas training camps under coaches Roroy Pinero and Norman Fegidero,” Araneta said of the 40-man pool that will be handled by Michael Weiss after the Azkals’ stint in the Fifa World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Top players from the recent PFF Suzuki U23 National Cup lead the candidates to the SEA Games, including tournament MVP Aldrin Dolino, Best Striker Joshua Beloya, Lemuel Unabia and Joven Bedic from champ Negros Occidental FA, and Best Midfielder Francis Gustilo, Wilson Munoz and Neckson Leonora from runner-up Iloilo FA.

“There will only be eight Fil-foreign players in this pool, led by Simon and de Jong,” Araneta said, adding that Azkals’ Fil-British keeper Niel Etheridge, although still elibigle at 21 years old, will likely skip the SEAG.


Fil-Danish players likely to miss RP-S’Lanka rematch


FILIPINO-Danish players Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena may not be available for the first leg of the Philippines’ Asian World Cup qualifier against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo for various reasons, according to national team manager Dan Palami.

"He (Cagara) will be meeting us in Germany but I cannot confirm if he is going with us to Sri Lanka," said Palami of the 26-year-old left fullback before the team departed early yesterday morning for its two-week training camp in Duren, German that will serve as the final phase of the Azkals’ buildup.

Head coach Michael Weiss left earlier last Wednesday to lay the groundwork for the camp featuring tune-up matches against four German squads, including a Duren selection that dropped a close 3-4 decision to German Division 1 ballclub Bayern Munich two weeks ago.

Palami said Lucena, who previously suited up for Denmark’s Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21 national teams, has a slight foot injury. He has recently signed up with Danish Division 1 Randers FC.

In his absence, Palami said Filipino-Icelander Ray Jonnson would retain his old spot "where he has been doing a good job."

"Jerry (Lucena) will also be in Germany but he is nursing a foot injury so is also uncertain in Colombo," Palami said. "He might come off the bench, or will just play for us when the returns to Manila."


12 June 2011

Azkals switch to Pacquiao mode

MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Iranian winger Misagh Bahadoran, one of the national football team's new recruits, admitted that training in the past couple of weeks had been a hellish experience, but he’s not complaining.

At one point, the 24-year-old dentistry graduate from Centro Escolar University vomited after an exhausting running drill presided by German coach Hans Michael Weiss.

But the Azkals, training for their first-round World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29, are not taking any chances.

As they arrive in Frankfurt, Germany tonight, the Azkals expect their training to go a notch harder.

The Azkals will stay in Duren for a two-week training camp which will serve as the final phase of their preparation.

Team manager Dan Palami, credited for the Azkals’ phenomenal rise, said they are set “to train five to 10 times harder,” citing the training regimen of boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao as inspiration.

“We want to follow his (Pacquiao) principle,” said Palami, a self-confessed Pacquiao fan who watched the ring icon's latest triumph against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. “It's really training 10 times harder so when the game comes we will be ready in speed and stamina. We want to ready the players as if they will play three straight games.”

Saranggani Rep. Pacquiao is famous for his mantra: “If you train hard, the fight is easy.”

The Azkals, unruffled by the E. Coli outbreak that hit Germany, will have four friendly matches against formidable second and third division German clubs.

They get their first acid test when they play their first friendly match on June 15 opposite a squad composed of fourth and fifth division players based in Duren.

Next will be an Under-19 squad from Bern on June 17, before taking on a second Bundesliga team FC Ingolstadt five days later.

The team wraps up its preparations on June 24 against newly-promoted German third division team Darmstadt Achtung 98.

The 23-man crew flying to Germany includes new recruits, Fil-Am striker Nathan Burkey, Fil-Am centerback James Rochlitz, and Fil-Dutch attacking midfielder Paul Maulders.

The newbies will join goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Manuel Ott, Rob Gier, Angel Guirado, Rey Johnsson, Jerry Lucena, Stephan Schrock, Ian Araneta, Aly Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdong, Anton Del Rosario, Roel Gener, Nestor Margarse, Edward Sacapano, Jason Sabio, Richard Becite and Phil and James Younghusband.

Swiss goalkeeping coach Pascal Zuberbuhler will link up with team in Germany.

Manila Bulletin

Azkals to play 4 tuneup games in Germany

MANILA—The Philippine National Football Team will be up for the challenge of high-level training in Germany and will face foreign squads in preparation for its first round World Cup qualifier stint this June 29 in Sri Lanka.

The second leg will be on July 3 in Manila.

The team left for Duren, Germany last midnight to attend a two-week intensive training camp centered on team cohesion and team play. Head coach Hans Weiss left ahead of them to arrange the camp.

As the team will be leaving the country, team manager Dan Palami said that this will help them fully focus on what has to be done.

Aside from conditioning and strength exercises, there are also scheduled matches against second and third-division teams from Germany that will help the team evaluate their preparation for the Sri Lanka game.

“They will be playing against strong teams,” said Dan Palami.

A team based in Duren, which played against formidable German club Bayern Munich, will be the first match of the team on June 15.

They are also set to face an under-19 squad from Bern on June 17 before they play with FC Ingolstadt on June 22.

Their last match will be against Darmstadt Achtung 98 on June 24 and the team will fly for Sri Lanka on June 26.

The 23-man squad will be finally complete as the other Europe-based players like Angel Aldeguer and Roy Johnsson will in the Germany training camp.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 12, 2011.

Limpag: The faces for Cebu football

AFTER getting floored by the handsome faces of the Azkals, Gov. Gwen Garcia (who asked if being handsome was a requirement of the national team) said she’d like the Azkals back in time for the launching of a football program in Cebu this September.

Coach Michael Weiss, who also has his share of admirers who are a demographic above the shrieking Neil Etheridge fans, said as long as they get an invitation and they don’t have any commitments, they’d love to be back in Cebu.

The Azkals for another training camp? Sweet!!!

More Sun Star Cebu

11 June 2011

Villaflor: We Believe or make-believe?

“LONG is the way, and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light” – John Milton, Paradise Lost

THE “We Believe” campaign, in its simplest terms, aims to make the public aware that the Azkals’ victory “is also the nation’s triumph,” apart from bringing the team closer to the fans.

The campaign, launched yesterday in Metro Manila, also has a vision: to uplift Filipino pride and “to inspire them to believe in what they can do for the country.”

“We Believe” makes for a good slogan, which happens to be a variation of earlier catchphrases from other campaigns of the same theme, such as “Posible,” “Yes we can,” “Kaya Natin,” etc. (It could also pass muster as a “meme,” the idea or belief that spreads within a culture from one person or another.)

But could this nationwide campaign be nothing more than mere feel-good sloganeering, or is it a sincere effort to build on the momentum of the Azkals phenomenon?

The campaign itself is the result of a “paradigm shift” that has given the Filipino football community a newfound sense of optimism. Thanks to the Azkals nearly improbable run during the 2010 Suzuki Cup finals in Vietnam, a story we know all too well.

While some are helplessly cynical and others warn football fans and stakeholders to proceed with caution, many more are just happy to be caught up in the Azkals frenzy. But definitely, there is no one more optimistic right now than Dan Palami, the standard bearer of the “We Believe” campaign.

In my column last Thursday (That World Cup dream), I sought to explain Palami’s blueprint for the Azkals’ 2018 World Cup qualification. I forgot to mention, however, what in the world made him believe it was possible to qualify for the globe’s most important sporting event in such a short time.

Before his stint with the seniors’ squad, Palami, a businessman, was appointed as manager of the Under-19 team only three weeks before they were to compete in China.

With so haphazard a preparation, the team was thrashed in all its games. It must have been embarrassing as hell for him as manager.

So when he was given the opportunity to manage the Philippine Men’s National Team, Palami also found the chance to redeem himself. But to do so required commitment: he had to pursue a comprehensive plan for the team, which also meant he had to spend his own fortune. (Last year, he spent “half of his income” in managing the team.)

So what’s the deal with the 2018 qualification?

“I had to set such a difficult goal so I would really push myself in managing the team,” Palami had told our small group—– Paulo Pascual’s father Joel, sports editor Mike Limpag and I—hours after he received the Sportswriters Association of Cebu Presidential Award last February.

In other words, the 2018 World Cup goal isn’t so much about qualifying as of setting up a system that would develop the most competitive squad possible, given the meager resources.

Having recalled this bit of information allows me to put into the proper context the most plausible motivation behind the “We Believe” campaign. It is not mere “mindless optimism” on the part of the Azkals management, but something more substantial.

“Our brains aren’t just stamped by the past,” says last week’s Time cover story about the science of optimism. “They are constantly being shaped by the future.”

The future that Palami sees for Philippine football, having emerged from its darkest days, is a bright one. But getting there will be hard, so having a catchy slogan and getting everyone else to say it might just help.

“We Believe.” Say it. Spread the word. It’s not that hard.


Sun Star Cebu

Azkals won’t call off trip


MANILA, Philippines — Team manager Dan Palami said several measures are in place to ensure the Philippine football team will be protected from the E. Coli outbreak plaguing Germany.

The Philippine Azkals are set to leave for Duren tomorrow for a two-week training camp serving as the final phase of their preparation for their FIFA World Cup qualifying first round match against Sri Lanka on June 29.

Reports said death toll from the bacteria outbreak, which was traced to Hamburg area in northern Germany, has climbed 30 and affected 2,900 people in 12 countries.

Although Duren is far from Hamburg, about 290 kilometers apart, Palami said they are leaving no stones unturned to make sure the food the players will eat are bacteria-free.

“We made an agreement with the organizers to ensure the food will be safe,” said Palami, who turned 41 on Thursday.

The German Football Association (DFB) is partly sponsoring the Azkals’ camp, which include four exhibition matches against formidable second and third division German club teams.

“I heard the bacteria came from vegetables. It’s quite alarming, but I know team officials will make sure the food is safe. We will also be extra careful in picking the food we will eat,” striker Ian Araneta said after the send off luncheon for the Azkals hosted by ABS-CBN in its compound in Quezon City Friday.

In a bid to draw support from fans and drum up their important match against Sri Lanka in Colombo, a fund-raising campaign, dubbed as “Webelieve,” was launched Friday afternoon in Trinoma.

Palami, the low-key godfather credited for the renaissance of football in the country, said they hope to draw financial support from the campaign

Manila Bulletin

Philippines' Azkals to visit Bahrain for camp


THE Philippines' men's national soccer team, more popularly known as the "Azkals", are set to visit Bahrain next month for a week-long training camp.

This was revealed to the GDN last night by a high-ranking source at the Bahrain Football Association (BFA), who asked not to be named.

The BFA executive said that all negotiations for the Filipino team's visit are complete. They are now only awaiting a letter of approval from the Philippine Football Federation to make it official.

"It is 90 per cent done," the source told the GDN. "We have finished our negotiations, and their visit is now on our timetable.

"When we receive the letter we are waiting for, which we expect to get on Monday, we will formally announce their camp and begin to promote it."

The "Azkals" are scheduled to be in Bahrain between July 12 and 17. During their stay, they will play two friendly matches against Bahrain's under-23 Olympic soccer team.

The first tune-up will be held on July 14, to be followed by the other two days later. The venue for the games have yet to be confirmed.


"We at the BFA are very happy to be welcoming the 'Azkals' to the kingdom," the source said. "We know how popular they are in the Philippines, and we understand that interest in the game of soccer is growing rapidly because of them.

"While we expect to have two very competitive friendly matches against them, their visit also gives us a chance to further strengthen our relations with the Filipino community here in Bahrain."

The "Azkals" nickname is derived from the Filipino word "askal", which means "street dog".

Several players on the Philippine team's roster have been, or are presently, members of top clubs in Europe. Among them are James and Phil Younghusband, who were youth and reserve team players at English Premier League side Chelsea; and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who is currently a reserve team member of English club Fulham.

There are others who are also playing for clubs in Spain, Germany, Denmark and Norway, as well as in the US.

The "Azkals" are constantly improving on the international stage. They are presently ranked 156th on the Fifa World Rankings. The team is also tremendously popular in the Philippines for reasons off the soccer pitch.

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)

10 June 2011

Azkals coach confident of winning


German coach Michael Weiss said he feels more excited than pressured despite his unenviable task of making sure the Philippine football team will do well in the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup.

It will be his biggest assignment since taking the coaching helm of the national football team four months ago, but Weiss said he thrives under pressure.

”There’s no pressure,” he said, though admitting that the qualifying tourney, where they will meet Sri Lanka in the first round on June 29 in Colombo, is very significant for the country.

Much has changed since the Philippines last took part in the World Cup qualifier in 2001.

The stands were empty when the Azkals hosted a qualifying match against Laos (1-1) at the 10,000-seater Philsports Arena in Pasig.

Ten years after, things are going to be different given the tremendous popularity and expectation from the Azkals.

Proof is that game tickets to their home match against Sri Lanka at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on July 3 were sold out in two hours.

”Everybody is excited about this, and I know what this tournament means for the Philippines.” Weiss said. “Football is only starting to get recognized so we need every win to keep it.”

The Azkals are set to leave for Germany on Sunday for a couple of tune up matches for their first-round match against Sri Lanka on June 29.

“We can expect to win but we should not underestimate them,” said Weiss, adding that Sri Lanka is not taking the game lightly and is going to South Korea for a couple of tune up matches.

Considering that the Azkals have never played Sri Lanka before, Weiss said they don’t plan to be too aggressive and will just counter whatever their South Asian rivals bring to the table.

“But we have to have cohesion first. That will be the main focus in Germany: cohesion, tactical, technical training,” Weiss said.

Manila Bulletin

09 June 2011

Mizuno upset by Azkals' 'snub'

By DING T. MARCELOJune 8, 2011, 12:10am
MANILA, Philippines — The shock defeat of the Philippine Football team has left not only its coach and team officials disappointed, it also upset one of the Azkals’ major backers in a different sort of way.

Mizuno, which has supported the Azkals “when they were nothing,” said it was deeply hurt when the team played against a United Football League selection without wearing the company’s jerseys.

Benny Gopez, whose company Mastersports is the sole distributor of Mizuno products for nearly 30 years, said that by using another jersey, the Azkals may have violated a contract it had signed with Mizuno in which the team agreed to use its jerseys in both local and international competitions.

“We love the Azkals,” Gopez said, “what we can’t understand is why it suddenly decided not to use our jerseys.”

Gopez, former president of the golf and volleyball associations, recalled that when the Azkals were the team Filipinos knew nothing about, and they went around looking for sponsors who mostly rejected them, Mizuno offered to support them “not for personal gain but because we have faith in them and that football needed all the help it can get.”

“Now that they are big and popular,” Gopez said, “they apparently have forgotten who helped them when they were nothing.”

Azkals team manager Dan Palami, in explaining the switch, said it was not their deliberate intention not to use Mizuno jerseys.

The jerseys, he said, arrived late and they didn’t have time to put in the names of the other sponsors on the shirts.

“Had we been given the uniforms in time to print our other sponsors, we would have gladly worn it,” Palami said.

He also said the team did not wear a competing brand, what they wore was a backup practice jersey. He added that they always wore Mizuno shirts but the Sunday game was only a practice and exhibition match.

He recognized Mizuno’s contribution to the national team.

“Indeed Mizuno was there before the Azkals made their name, and for that, despite better offers from competitors, we extended their lapsed contract for one more year,” Palami said.

Gopez admitted they are not really big sponsors, only suppliers of the team’s apparel, but he said the Azkals management should not forget those who supported them in their hour of need.

Following unprecedented success in international campaign, the Azkals have become the newests darlings of Philippine sports, their top players matching the celebrity status of the country’s more popular basketball players.

“But they have to return to their beginnings,” said Gopez.

He wryly noted that the team that beat the Azkals, the UFL selection, during their exhibition game last Sunday, wore Mizuno jerseys.

“Isn’t that poetic justice,” Gopez said. “Our jerseys also bring luck.”

Manila Bulletin

Azkals coach: German camp a good respite from Manila’s distractions

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine football team coach Michael Weiss is looking forward to putting the Azkals in a tighter leash when they undergo a two-week camp in Germany starting Monday.

“We will not put them into prison, but we will have control over them,” Weiss said Tuesday night before leaving for Germany to make the necessary preparations for the camp in Duren, a city near the Dutch border three hours away from Frankfurt.

“We need to control if we want to get to the next level. They can’t do strange stuff in Germany. They are young players, and there will always be temptations in a city like Manila.”

Weiss earlier rued the lack of focus of the team in Manila, where several players have been pre-occupied with a myriad of non-football related activities.

But Weiss believes his team’s mindset is where it should be now three weeks before the 2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifying first round match against Sri Lanka.

Weiss said the training in Germany would be enough to address chinks in the Azkals’ armor that were exposed in the 3-4 exhibition loss to a United Football League side last Sunday.

“There’s no reason to make a drama out of it,” he said, referring to the loss. “We know we have a long way to go.”

“We lack the compactness in midfield but with the players that we will have in camp, I’m sure we will solve our problems,” said the German coach, who expected Fil-Dutch midfielder Paul Mulders to make an immediate impact in the team.

The 30-year-old Mulders, who will see action for ADO Den Haag in the Dutch first division, honed his skills at Ajax, which is known for developing the Netherlands top players like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart.

The Azkals, who leave for Germany on Sunday, will close camp in Manila today, before launching their fund-raising “We Believe” campaign at the Trinoma Activity Center on Friday.

Linking up with the squad in Germany are Europe-based standouts Ray Jonnson, Manny Ott, Rob Gier, Stephan Schrock, Angel Aldeguer Guirado, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara.

“We are now at 65 percent,” Weiss said. “We have to grow together. It will be a tough challenge to play strong teams in Germany and I beg for understanding if we lose there but it will help us to progress.”

Weiss is confident of overcoming Sri Lanka with the squad that he has now, which has been considered as the strongest assembled in years.

“But the cohesion must be good,” he added.


Azkals to hold fund-raising day

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Philippine football team take time off from their rigorous training Friday to mingle with their loyal fans in an event also serving as their sendoff party for their World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29.

The event, dubbed as “We Believe” is also a fund-raising campaign that hopes not only to bring the fans closer to the Philippine Azkals, but also generate support for their important outing, Azkals team manager Dan Palami said.

“It’s a way of thanking the fans for their support and at the same time ask support from them for our game against Sri Lanka,” Palami said.

“We want to show that the Azkals’ victory is also the nation’s triumph.” Palami said the event, which will feature concerts and football clinics, hopes to draw more corporate sponsors for the team to sustain its training and preparation for the qualifying tournament for the World Cup.

Last month, he said they will need around P15 million for their preparation, including their training in Germany.

Event organizer Jmar Eduarte said fans can help the Azkals by purchasing Azkals merchandising goods during the event that will start at 4 p.m. at Trinoma. —Francis Santiago

Manila Bulletin

Villaflor: That World Cup dream

By Noel S. Villaflor

EVER since the Azkals’ fairytale run in the AFF Suzuki Cup finals last year, I’ve noticed how quite a number of people confuse the national team’s zeal for delusion.

Among the worst that I’ve come across are those who insist that the Azkals have become so overconfident they believe they can qualify for the World Cup. I normally ignore such comments, but following the results of last weekend’s friendly match between the national team and the UFL All-Stars, the skeptics are at it again, all guns blazing.

It would be helpful, therefore, put the Azkals’ and their handlers’ efforts in perspective. We can start with identifying what the team’s goals – short-term, mid-term and long-term – are.

First, I’ll have to backtrack a couple of months before the Suzuki Cup.

On the morning of the first Saturday of August last year, Dan Palami, the manager of the Philippine Men’s National Football team, brought core members of the Azkals to Cebu City for a free football clinic, a charity event with no fanfare.

There—on a tiny, unkempt football field—I met Dan for the first time. I wasted no time asking him about his role in the team and of course their goals. I wrote about it for this column, published the next day, with the title, “All it takes is one visionary.”

(Dan told me months later it was the first time someone had written about him as manager, and in such a light.)

What struck me in that interview with Dan was his answer when I asked him what his long-term goal was for the team, which is “qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.”

He said this without the slightest hint of hesitation. At that point, I thought Dan was joking, but I quickly realized the man was dead serious after he narrated an overview of the team’s objectives.

Of course, I also forgot what he had told me seconds earlier: “We want to make sure we’re focused on our short to medium-term objectives of raising the Philippine team’s Fifa rankings by winning international competitions,” Palami said.

Several months passed and the Azkals have inched their way up the rankings. They have since hired a no-nonsense German coach in Michael Weiss. So far, apart from the spectacular run in Vietnam, the team has qualified for the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup and is now in deep preparations for the World Cup qualifiers.

During the team’s visit in Cebu City two weekends ago, I asked Dan about one of the team’s lesser known medium-term objectives: to barge into the Top 100 of the Fifa rankings.

I had come across the information from an online German website, Spox.com, which
published a feature last January about the Azkal’s new German coach and his role in achieving team’s objectives.

“Our goal is to get into the top 100 for the medium term. We want to close the gap between the best Asian countries,” the article, in German, quoted Palami as saying.

I asked Dan during their visit if such a plan is still part of the Azkals blueprint.

He said yes. Right now the team is ranked 156, quite a number of rungs from the 100 target.

“To achieve that, we have to play more matches with other national teams,” said Dan, who cited the Four Nations Cup among Southeast Asian teams in October, among others.

As for the World Cup qualifiers matches, the Azkals won’t take any chances against Sri Lanka as they go deep into training in Germany.

“We will be playing against second and third-division club teams in the Bundesliga, and this will help us prepare for the next phase,” Dan said.

“We really stand a good chance. For the first time, we’d be getting past the first round of the World Cup qualifiers, finally, after more than 100 years of Philippine football,” Dan said.

And if they do get past Sri Lanka, what would success against a strong, experienced Kuwait team mean?

“If we get past Kuwait, that’s going to be crazy. It will be an even bigger football story than the Vietnam upset,” Dan said.

Against a team ranked 101st in the world, beating Kuwait might just herald the country’s entry into the Top 100.

And how great it would be to say: Just as planned.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 09, 2011.

Azkals reveal World Cup list

THE fate of the Philippines in the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers now lies on the shoulders of the 23 players who were named to the PHL Azkals team by head coach Hans Michael Weiss last Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The shortlisted players will attend the two-week training camp in Germany and will face Sri Lanka in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers on June 29.

Familiar names made it to the list plus several new players as well.

The team will welcome new Azkals Fil-Am Nate Burkey, Fil-Iranian Misagh Bahadoran, Fil-Dutch Paul Mulders and US-based James Rochlitz, a 20-year-old midfielder from Los Angeles who tried out last April.

Fil-Brit Neil Etheridge will be the keeper with Edward Sacapano as the reserve.

Team Captain Aly Borromeo will be leading the pack of defenders along with Rob Gier, Stephan Schrock, Roel Gener, Anton Del Rosario, Ray Jonsson, Jason Sabio and Dennis Cagara.

Emilio ‘Chieffy’ Caligdong, James Younghusband and Jerry Lucena will man the midfield with Manuel Ott, Jerry Lucena, Ricardo Becite and Nestorio Margarse.

Completing the list are forwards Ian Araneta, Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado.

Missing in the list is Simon Greatwich, who according to team manager Dan Palami will focus on the Under-23 national team that will represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games this November.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 09, 2011.

06 June 2011

Fil-Dutch pro booter tries out for Azkals

FILIPINO-Dutch Paul Mulders, a 30-year old football pro, planed in recently to try out for the Philippine National Azkals.

But national coach Michael Weiss said Mulers came in too late and will not be picked when he announces the final composition of the team seeing action against Sri Lanka in their two-game home-and-away series on June 29 and July 3 for the he World Cup qualifying matches.

“There will be no more new players for the team. He (Mulders) will not play for Sri Lanka, but later on,” said Weiss last Friday during the Azkals’ workouts at the pitch of the Rizal Memorial football stadium in Vito Cruz.

The 5’9” Amsterdam-based Mulder has been playing professional soccer for the last 10 years and is currently under contract with Ado Den Haag.

Mulder, whose father is Dutch and mother is from Isabela in the Philippines, is an attacking midfielder.

Weiss said the Azkals will have a complete team when they leave for a two-week training in Durren, Germany starting on June 12.

Weiss will choose from seven aspirants, namely former national player and Fil-Australian Leigh Gunn, Fil-Iranian Misagh Bahadoran, Fil-Americans James Rochiletes, OJ Porteria, Neil Ignacio and Nathan Burkey and London-based Alvin Sarmiento.

Meanwhile, organizers said tickets for the Philippines’ 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Sri Lanka on 3 July 2011 in Manila are almost sold out.

The game, which serves as the second leg of the first round World Cup qualifiers will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Around 28,000 seats of tickets worth P200 to P3,000 have been put on sale last week. But Philippine Football Federation officials said they were surprised upon learning that most of the tickets were gone within two hours.

Peter Atencio
Manila Standard Today

UFL All-Stars beat Azkals

By Mike T. Limpag

YANTI Barsales’s tour of duty with the national team ended the way it started—in a disappointing loss.

The Philippine Azkals surrendered an injury time goal and lost to the Universal Football League (UFL) All-Stars, 4-3, in their friendly game at the University of
Makati Field yesterday.

The match was the first competitive game for the Azkals, who are training for their World Cup qualifiers against Sri Lanka later this month.

Prior to the game, the achievements of Barsales, who started with the national team, was read and the Air Force rider and former UFL MVP received a resounding ovation.

Barsales, 38, also wore the captain’s armband before he was replaced by Nate Burkey in the 15th minute with the Azkals ahead, 1-0, on an Emilio Caligdong goal.

However, the All-Stars, which also had a handful of former national team members and African players, equalized late in the first half before taking the lead in the second on Mark Hartmann’s goal.

Simon Greatwich equalized early in the second half but the Azkal defense surrendered another goal in the 75th. Striker Ian Araneta looked to have salvaged a draw with a header in the 85th before Izzeldin El-Habbib blasted a powerful shot past Neil Etherideg for the game-winning goal.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 06, 2011.

05 June 2011

Azkals 3-4 UFL All Stars FT

Azkals 3-4 UFL All Stars FT

Goals : Dagroh 2 goals(UFL) , Mark Hartmann (UFL) , El Habbib (UFL)Caligdong (Azkals), S.Greatwich (Azkals) and Ian Araneta (Azkals)

UFL All-Stars XI: Mercado, Kama, El Habbib, Bermejo, Pasilan, Dagroh, Gonzales, M. Hartmann, Borril, Tresor, D. Hartmann

Azkals : Etheridge, Del Rosario, Borromeo, Sabio, Gener, James YH, Greatwich, Caligdong, Phil YH, Bahadoran & Barsales

04 June 2011

Azkals near peak form for duel with Sri Lanka

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals still have their work cut out in the last three weeks in order to get in perfect game shape for their Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers matchup with Sri Lanka.

“(We’re at) 60 percent (right now),” coach Michael Weiss said when asked to measure how the Azkals are in their buildup for the first leg in Colombo on June 29 and the second leg at Rizal Memorial on July 3.

Part of it, he explained, has to do with the fact that the team is not yet complete.

“Many key players (are still) missing (in our practices) like Aly (Borromeo), (Dennis) Cagara, (Stefan) Schrock, (Jerry) Lucena, (Angel) Aldeguer,” the German mentor said after the Azkals’ practice at the Rizal pitch.

Co-skipper Borromeo attended to a wake in the family while the Fil-foreign booters are based in Europe and will hook up with the rest of the Phl XI in their training camp in Germany from June 12-26. It’s in Germany where Weiss expects the Azkals to reach their peak in terms of physical and mental conditioning as well as team cohesion.

“They’ll all come to the camp in Germany, the whole team will be together in Germany,” said Weiss, whose crew is looking at playing five tuneup matches with German clubs during the two-week camp.

Weiss had previously lamented the Azkals’ lack of total focus on training due to other commitments. But now, he said he’s seen improvement in this aspect, it’s just that most of them are tired from playing too many games for their respective clubs.

“It’s better, but still we have games going on and not all players can fully concentrate. But this is the situation, there are several leagues here and we have to accept that,” he said.

The Azkals will play the United Football League (UFL) All-Stars today at University of Makati, which Weiss described as an “important test match” for them.

By Monday or Tuesday, Weiss said he will be ready to name the 25 footballers who will carry the country’s colors against Sri Lanka.


Tickets to Azkals sold out


June 4, 2011, 6:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the relatively high cost, tickets to the World Cup qualifying match between the Philippines and Sri Lanka on July 3 were sold out two hours upon their release on Friday.

Bleacher tickets were sold at P200 and P300, while grandstand tickets stood at P2,000 and P3,000, pricelist that for some appeared to be too expensive for ordinary Filipino football fans. The bleacher tickets account for 13,000 of the 18,000 tickets released.

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said it was forced to raise the ticket prices to cover part of the renovation of the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, the match venue.

PFF chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said talks with San Miguel Corporation bogged down, forcing them to foot the P6 million renovation of the 77-year-old edifice.

Araneta cited “a conflict of schedule” as one of the reasons why negotiations stalled. He did not elaborate.

“We’re shouldering everything from the repairs of chairs and the dressing rooms,” Araneta said.

“We hope to resume the negotiation with San Miguel once we get back to the country,” said Araneta who has scheduled a trip to Germany after attending the FIFA Congress in Zurich on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bonnie Ladrido, the PFF treasurer and chair of the organizing committee, said there’s a possibility they would release more tickets once the numbering and painting of bleachers is completed.

Manila Bulletin

Azkals-Sri Lanka July 3 match tickets sold out

By Earl Victor Rosero

All tickets for the July 3 2014 World Cup Asian qualifiers match between the Philippine men's national football team or Azkals and Sri Lanka have been sold out on the first day, according to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) organizing committee Friday.

Bonnie Ladrido, chairman of the local organizing committee said, "We were caught off-guard. We didn't expect it to happen this fast."

The white bleachers tickets were gone within an hour after Ticketworld offered them via its website, at its ticket outlets in a bookstore chain and at other commercial areas. The white bleachers section is directly across the field from the covered grandstand.

Going, going, gone

Gobbled up next were the P200 tickets and then by mid-afternoon, the grandstand tickets that went for P2,000 and P3,000 were almost all gone.

Ladrido informed GMA News Online late afternoon that "maybe only about 5 to 10 percent of the grandstand tickets are left." He said he will know more about the ticket sales status after meeting early Friday evening.

He explained that the P200 tickets are "practically sold-out" because they had to set aside eight percent of the tickets, roughly 800, for Sri Lanka according to international football rules.

"If some of those Sri Lanka tickets will be freed, they will also be sold to the public," Ladrido said.

Fans excited about PHL World Cup chances

Some fans, interviewed by GMA News Online while they queued for tickets, gave mixed reactions to the ticket pricing scheme.

More GMA News TV

03 June 2011

PFF charging too much for World Cup qualifier

I wonder why the Philippine Football Federation is charging P200 for a bleacher seat for the coming Philippines-Sri Lanka World Cup qualifier on July 3 at the renovated Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Given that more than 11 million Filipinos are jobless, with many more going hungry, isn’t the PFF making it too hard on the ordinary Pinoy to appreciate the sport? The price for a bleacher seat, to my mind, is not within the reach of the common tao?
Instead of gaining more followers, the PFF might drive away new football adherents and alienate the few remaining believers in the game.
Composed of young and fiercely determined (and not bad-looking) shin-busters, the Azkals started to make an unexpected impact on the Philippine sporting scene last year by posting a string of stirring triumphs here and abroad.
“I’m happy with the way the team is making progress,” said the Azkals’ German coach Hans Michael Weiss.
Making up the team are skipper Aly Borromeo, brothers James and Phil Younghusband, goalie Neil Etheridge, Ian Araneta, Simon Greatwich, Rob Gier, Angel Guirado, Jerry Lucena, Ray Jonsson, Anton del Rosario and Chieffy Caligdong.
PSA awardee and team manager Dan Palami said additions to the squad could include Leigh Gunn, Filipino-Americans Nate Burkey and James Rochlitz and Fil-Iranian Misagh Bahadoran.
Bonnie Librado, PFF treasurer and chair of the PH-Sri Lanka match, said the stiff ticket prices would help augment the cost of refurbishing the Rizal Memorial Stadium, noting that the association needs at least P6 million for the renovation.
He said 8,000 tickets will be sold at P200 each, 4,950 tickets will be pegged at P300, the P2,000 tickets will be for the upper level grandstand seats, while the P3,000 tickets will be for the lower level main grandstand seats. Tickets will go on sale beginning June 3.
I think the PFF can help alleviate the ordinary people’s dilemma by distributing a portion of the tickets (at least for the bleacher section) for free through a lottery. Even though this is an unsolicited advice, it is something worth trying.

Inquirer sports

02 June 2011

No contract for Dennis Cagara

Dennis Cagara has been released from his Danish club Randers FC. He had short term contract until 30. June , and has not played for the club.

Dennis has been expected before to join the Azkals in Germany.

Source : Randers FC website

Azkals-Sri Lanka tickets on sale

Manila, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation announced that tickets to the Round 1-Leg 2 match between the Philippines and Sri Lanka for the Asian Qualifiers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil will be on sale beginning today at all Ticketworld outlets.

The home-and-away series will take place on June 29 in Sri Lanka and the home match by the Philippine men’s football national team will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on July 3 at 3:30 p.m.

The Philippines is currently ranked No. 156 by FIFA while Sri Lanka is at No. 169.

Ticket prices are VIP Lower Box (P3,000), VIP Upper Box (P2,000), Center Bleachers (P300), and Side Bleachers behind the goal (P200). The Kaholeros, the booster group for the Azkals, will be seated at the center bleachers.

Football fans may call up Ticketworld at 891-9999 and view the seat plan at www.ticketworld.com.ph.


8,000 tickets will be sold at PhP206.00 (bleachers area behind the two goals)

4,950 tickets will be sold at PhP309.00 (near the middle of the non-covered bleachers area)

2,600 tickets will be sold at PhP2,060.00 (upper level of the main grandstand)

1,200 tickets will be sold at PhP3,090.00 (lower level of the main grandstand)

Ticketworld Azkals

Seat plan


Buy tickets on Friday ! Cheapest tickets could be sold out already first day.

Little Azkals open bid in AFC U-13 today

THE Philippine Under 13 (RP U13) tagged as the “Little Azkals” will open their campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U13 Festival of Football today.

The team is composed of Major Dean Ebarle of the Abellana National School (ANS); Mario Lorenzo Ceniza of Springdale; Moiselle Angelo Alforque and Vincent Lobitos of Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC); Kintaro Miyagi of Bright Academy; Lawrence Colina of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF); Lorenzo Genco; Yared Anton, Ian Daniel Eamague, Kyric Parao and Henry Hamdam of the Negros Oriental Football Association (NORFA); Mason Trent Vergara of Dumaguete City; Darios Diamante and Javier Romero-Salas of Davao FA; Sebastian Patangan of Dipolog FA; Jeremaih Borlongan and Dimitri Lionel Limbo of Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental FA; Harel Dayan, Josh Albert Miller, John William Abraham, Ray Vincent Sanciangco and Marco Alessandro Casambre of the Rizal Football Association (RIFA).

First up for the Little Azkals will be Laos and Singapore this morning and Indonesia in the afternoon.

Team manager Richard Montayre explained that teams will play a total of 40 minutes with the first 11 of each team playing in the first 20 and the second 11 playing in the remaining 20 minutes.

On June 4 will be a skills test and matches will resume on Sunday and Monday.

The Little Azkals coaching staff is made up of Oliver Colina as head coach, Eleazar Toledo as assistant coach, Noel Marcaida as goalkeeping coach and Eliezer Fabroada as coach instruct.

Marcaida said the target for the Little Azkals is to better the winless performance last year’s RP U14. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON

Cebu Daily News

UFL showcases all-stars against Azkals

Football fans will be given a rare treat Sunday when the United Football League stages a special exhibition match pitting the Philippine Azkals and the UFL All-Stars at the University of Makati pitch.

The match provides a fitting conclusion to a second season filled with enthralling matches and where the league gained headway in support following the success of the Azkals.

There will be an abundance of talent on both sides as the league showcases its finest players against the country's best.

Several Azkals who play in the UFL will be playing for the national team, which is currently in the thick of preparations for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying first round match against Sri Lanka.

Among the UFL standouts who will see action for the Azkals are Aly Borromeo and Anton del Rosario of Kaya Cignal, Air Force Rider linchpins Chieffy Caligdong, Ian Araneta, Yanti Barsales and Mark Ferrer, Global Smartmatic striker Misagh Bahadoran and Army Fritz and Macziol IBM stars Roel Gener, Ricardo Becite, Nestorio Margarse and Eduard Sacapano.

Some of the Azkals based abroad are expected to play in the friendly, including starting goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, midfielder Simon Greatwich and defender Jason Sabio.

Mainstays Phil and James Younghusband are also expected to see action for the Azkals.

The match will give Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss another opportunity to gauge his team's progress in preparation for the Sri Lanka match.

There will be no shortage of exciting players for the league's All-Star team.

Prolific strikers Izo El-Habbib of Global Smartmatic and Mark Hartmann of Loyola Meralco Sparks will be among the players to watch, along with quick wingers Aaron Altiche of Global and Floriano Pasilan of Green Archers Orient Freight.

Also part of the team is former national player Jerry Barbaso who plays for Global Smartmatic.

Air Force goalkeeper Edmundo Mercado and midfielder Randy Bela-ong are also part of the team together with Army players Meliton Pelayo and Rommel Villaruel, Global's Valentin Kama, Arye Ayi and Ange Tressor Guiso.

Kaya Cignal will also be represented in the All Star game by Eric Dagroh, Lexter Maravilla and Anto Gonzales.

Loyola Meralco will also have Patrick Ozaeta and Alvin Valeroso in the All Star team along with Nomads striker Steve Borril and Green Archers midfielder Enrique Romero Salas.

The two other goalkeepers in the team are Martin Villaflor from Greem Archers and Jose Alfie Caminos of Navy.

Tickets for the match are priced at P100 and will be available at LBC branches in SM North Edsa, Trinoma,SM Megamall, Market Market, Glorietta, Park Square, SM Sucat, Alabang Town Center and Filinvest.

UFL Website