FOOTBALL PHILIPPINES 3RD ISSUE NOW OUT! Featuring The Bull from Malaga Angel Aldeguer Guirado, World Cup Analysis by Rick Olivares, Up-Close with Phil and James, the Teen Azkals and many more. Get your copies at the Mizuno booth at SM Mall of Asia from October 1 & 2!
abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 09/30/2011 5:34 PM | Updated as of 09/30/2011 6:33 PM Tweet TAIPEI, Taiwan (UPDATED) - The Philippine Azkals settled for a 3-3 draw with Hong Kong in their opening match in the Long Teng Cup.
Hong Kong stormed ahead early through goals from Lee Wai Lim and Cheng Lai Hin.
The Azkals fought back, with Phil Younghusband converting a penalty to make it 1-2.
Chieffy Caligdong struck the equalizer in the 44th minute.
The Azkals took the lead again through a Caligdong goal in the second half.
The Philippines continued their attacking runs but were the recipient of several contested offside calls.
Caligdong also limped off from the match because of a leg injury in second half.
The Azkals looked set to book an upset until Hong Kong made it 3-3 through a Au Yeung Yiu Chung goal off a rebound in a freekick.
The 2 sides were reduced to 10 men in the dying minutes of the match after Jason de Jong and So Loi Keung were given red cards for fouls.
The 2011 Long Teng Cup is taking place in Chinese Taipei.
ABS-CBN will air the game on delayed basis through Studio 23 at 9:30 p.m.
THE Cebu Queen City United has released its 25-man lineup for the UFL Cup next month.
The team, which will be led by coaches Mario Ceniza, Alan Medalla, Hayato Ayabe and Dennis Peñalosa, features a mix of veteran players who played for the national Under 17 and senior teams in the past.
Named goalkeepers for the team are Alex Buanghog, a police officer, Garry Garciano and Frederick Alazas, while the defenders are former Carmen National School booters Jack Reston and Ronald Mahilum, Benedict Arriola, Carlito Abadia, Christian Delan, Yancy Menchavez, Niño Zapanta, Ranulfo Colina and Dave Gerali.
The mid-fielders are former national team members Jan Michael Flores and Rocky Garciano, Martin Bontia, Julius Acre, Josaphat Sacil, Japanese natonal Mitsuo Tsunakiri and Marion Cubelo.
Queen City’s offense will be anchored on Ariel Cahilig, Epifanio Ynot, Lemar Baunsit, Junard Aguilar and Rommel Cuizon and Rene Menchavez.
Cebu Queen City United will debut against Pachanga on Oct. 9 and will face Global FC on Oct. 16 before closing out its UFL Cup group stage against the Stallions.
The meeting has been practicing regularly since the club decided to field a UFL team just this month. They also had a series of friendly games against the University of San Carlos to help prepare the team.
1.Aly Borromeo, Defender, Kaya FC, Captain 2.Emelio Caligdong, Midfielder, Philippine Air Force FC, Vice-Captain 3.Phil Younghusband, Forward, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC 4.James Younghusband, Midfielder/Defender, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC 5.Mark Hartmann, Forward, Loyola Meralco Spraks FC 6.Matthew Hartmann, Midfielder, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC 7.Jeff Christiaens, Midfielder, Torhout KM, Belgium 8.Carlos De Murga, Defender, Racing Club Portuense , Spain 9.Roland Muller, Goalkeeper, MSV Duisburg, Germany 10.Lemuel Unabia, Defender, Green Archers United FC 11.Raymark Fernandez, Defender, University of the Philippines 12.Neckson Leonora, Defender, Pachanga FC 13.Oliver Poetschke, Midfielder, BFC Preussen Berlin, Germany 14.Angel Guirado, Forward, Global FC 15.Jason De Jong, Midfielder, FC Dordrecht, Netherlands 16.Misagh Bahadoran, Forward, Global FC 17.Roel Gener, Defender, Philippine Army FC 18.Eduard Sacapaño, Goalkeeper, Philippine Army FC 19.Lexton Moy, Midfielder, Kaya FC 20.Ian Araneta, Forward, Philippine Air Force FC
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Azkals will start its campaign in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan as an underdog despite parading a squad deemed strong-er than what it had last year.
The Azkals’ German coach Michael Weiss said the team still lacks cohesion with the entry of several new players.
With Europe-based aces Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock and Paul Mulders unavailable because of club commitments, Weiss is taking a mix of players for the four-nation event starting September 28 at the Kaohsiung National Stadium.
“We’re still lacking in some areas,” said Weiss. “Our preparation lacked consistency. But the positive thing is there are new players ready to take responsibility.”
Weiss said the first match against defending champion Hong Kong on Friday could well determine how the Azkals will fare in the tournament.
The Azkals finished third last year, after winning over Macau (5-0), tying Chinese-Taipei (1-1) and losing to Hong Kong (2-4).
Among the newcomers are brothers Mark and Matthew Hartmann, Fil-Spaniard Carli De Murga, Lexton Moy, and goalkeeper Roland Muller and defender Oliver Poetschke, both Fil-Germans.
Philippine national men’s football team manager Dan Palami shot down the idea of him replacing Nonong Araneta as the president of the Philippine Football Federation in the November elections.
Palami said football in the Philippines hasn’t reached its full potential yet and running against Araneta would be a divisive exercise.
“I’m sure they have their reasons to prod me to run. They know that I have the best interest of football in mind. They know of my management skills. However, I don’t want this. Football in the Philippines hasn’t fully blossomed and I don’t want a divisive exercise,” said Palami.
Palami, who recently resigned from his position at APT Global Inc. to concentrate on his job as the team manager and four other positions in his real estate companies, manpower company, a school board and as head of marketing of the PFF, said he supports Araneta.
“I’m contented with the support that Nonong Araneta is giving us and this is the time for us to unite behind the PFF,” Palami said.
Araneta, who was also prodded by stakeholders to run in the 2007 elections against Mari Martinez and Ed Formosa, took over the PFF presidency in December last year when the PFF Board of Governors ousted Martinez.
Palami said he will support Araneta if he decides to run for another term in the November elections.
“He (Araneta) will have my support and I hope he continues to support my initiatives as manager of the national team,” said Palami.
Meanwhile, Palami said the national team will try to maximize the Fifa-designated dates for friendlies in 2012, which could mean a busy year for the Azkals.
“Playing friendlies is one way of improving our rank,” Palami said. “It will give the players more time to play together for better cohesion. It will also allow us to evaluate new players.”
Aside from friendlies against national team, Palami said an events management company has offered to bring in European clubs and said they have received offers from second and third division teams in Spain.
“If Liverpool can have a friendly in Malaysia, perhaps the Philippines will be the next stop?” said Palami, who acknowledged bringing in a top tier club like Liverpool would be expensive.
“We are also looking at inviting Fulham, Neil Etheridge’s club, for a friendly,” he said.
Aside from the friendlies, the Azkals will be joining two tournaments next year—the AFC Challenge Cup and the Suzuki Cup.
The Azkals qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup main draw in Nepal for the first time after winning the qualifiers last March and for the Suzuki Cup, the Azkals won’t have to go through the qualifiers for the first time.
“Before the Challenge Cup, we are planning to hold a training camp in the Gulf area,” he said.
Palami also said the PFF is looking at hosting the Suzuki Cup but the lack of pitches is hampering that move.
NEWLY-HIRED Global FC coach Graeme Mackinnon is excited to return to the Philippines and resume a role in Philippine football, this time as head coach of one of the top clubs in the United Football League (UFL).
Mackinnon, who was hired by Dan Palami to take over Global FC, is expected to return next week to take charge of the team’s campaign when it defends its UFL CUp title.
“To start with, just to be part of the renaissance of Philippine football is exciting.
I only met Dan in February for the first time and yet I feel as though I have known him for the longest time. So it will be a pleasure to coach his team and an honor to be entrusted with coaching one of the top club teams in the Philippines,” Mackinnon said in a message to Sun.Star Cebu.
The Australian coach, who returned to Cebu last February to be enshrined in the Cebu Sports Hall of Fame for his M. Lhuillier football team’s achievement in the late’ 80s, also watched the Azkals beat Mongolia in Panaad last Feb. 9 and the PHL vs. Kuwait match in Manila.
It was hours before the Kuwaiti match when Palami offered him the job.
“I don’t know anything about the players so we will get to know each other slowly and hopefully we can make the necessary adjustments to some parts of their game (that) I believe need some attention,” said Mackinnon, who also helped groom the Carmen National School to the top of Philippine age group football.
Mackinnon, who just had knee surgery, will miss the Oct. 8 Global FC vs. Stallions match in the opening of the UFL Cup and will have his coaching debut on Oct. 16.
“Unfortunately I will miss the first game due to my still being here under doctor’s orders regarding the knee operation. I have an appointment on Oct. 7 so I should arrive in Manila sometime during the next week,” he said.
The Cebu team will be coached by his former star player and close friend Mario Ceniza, who will also have some of the former Carmen players in the team.
“Our long friendship will always be important to us both. So any time we are pitted against each other, we will do our best for our respective teams. Then we will go and enjoy a Coke and pizza as friends will always do whatever the result,” he said.
SOMEBODY pointed out an intriguing point regarding the Azkals friendlies against Singapore, Nepal and the Long Teng Cup campaign in the next couple of weeks.
We basically have two different squads—one for the friendlies and one for the Taiwan campaign—where the Azkals finished third of four teams last year.
The point basically is, coach Michael Weiss must deliver in Taiwan and must bring home the Cup.
Win against Singapore and Nepal, when we have a fully-loaded lineup and lose in Taiwan? What will folks think?
“They might think that we don’t need a good coach, we just need a good team.”
But, I have to disagree on this one.
No matter who we field, we need a good coach because, for me, being great at coaching isn’t only about how good you are at tactics, substitutions or knowing who to put in the lineup.
No matter who we field, we still need a good coach, one who’ll break egos, or who’d insist that players show up for practice, not for photo-shoots and stuffs like that.
Yes, coach Weiss could face the pressure if the “weak” team loses in Taiwan and the strong team wins against Singapore and Nepal.
But what happens if it’s the other way around?
The team left for Taiwan yesterday for the Long Teng Cup, and I hope they do well. Because to be honest, this is the only tournament where the Azkals have the greatest chance of bringing home the bacon.
Sure, compared to the SEA Games,on the Suzuki Cup, the Long Teng Cup isn’t much but considering how most of the players who scored the breakthrough in Vietnam last year used the Taiwan tournament as a springboard, it would be great to know how the Azkals will fare in the event.
By the way, I can now officially congratulate Graeme Mackinnon for being named the new head coach of Global FC, which comes exactly two months after I heard Dan Palami offer the job to him.
And Coach Graeme’s first game? It will be against Cebu.
Dan said for the Global vs. Cebu Queen City United game, he can count on at least one Cebuano fan in Doc Joel (Paolo Pascual’s dad) but with Graeme on board, Dan can count on two Cebuano families’ support.
But one good thing about Dan, Graeme, Mario and Joel? The Global vs. Cebu game will be great, but I’m sure we’re going to have a greater time talking about it over beer—and mango juice for teetotaler Graeme.
First match in Taiwan on Friday : Philippines vs Hong Kong . 4.30 pm in Kaohsiung
Hong Kong Team
GK: Wei Chao (Biu Chun Rangers), Tse Tak-Him (Citizen), Yapp Hung-Fai (South China), Li Hon-Ho (Tai Po). DF: Chak Ting-Fung (Biu Chun Rangers), Shum Kwok-Fai (Citizen), Man Pei-Tak, Ng Wai-Chao, Chan Wai-Ho, Lee Chi-Ho, Wong Chin-Hung (all South China), Lee Hang-Hui (Sun Hei). MF: Shum Kwok-Keung, So Loi-Keung (Citzen), Lo Kwan-Yee (Kitchee), Bai He, Xu Deshuai, Leung Chun-Bong, Kwok Kin-Pong (all South China), Lee Hong-Lim (TSW Pegasus). FW: Chan Siu-Ki, Lee Wai-Lim, Au Yeung Yiu-Chung, Cheng Lai-Hin (all South China), Ye Jia (Tai Po), Chao Pengfei (Biu Chun Rangers)
Hong Kong U23 beat Philippines 4-2 in 2010 Long Teng Cup.
Hong Kong matches in 2011 :
9. Feb : Malaysia 2-0 Hong Kong (friendly) 3. June : Hong Kong 1-1 Malaysia (friendly) 23. July : Saudi Arabia 3-0 Hong Kong (World Cup qualifier) 28. July : Hong Kong 0-5 Saudi Arabia (World Cup qualifier)
FORMER Cebu-based football guru Graeme Mackinnon is back in Philippine football but his return may result in some mixed feelings for Cebu football fans.
The already intriguing match-up between Dan Palami’s Global FC and Cebu Queen City United in the UFL Cup just got a bit more intriguing after Palami confirmed that he hired Mackinnon as his head coach.
Global FC and Cebu Queen City United is in Group C together with Pachanga and the Iloilo Stallions.
“He is just waiting for the clearance from his doctor before he can fly over and take over the team,” Palami told Sun.Star Cebu.
Mackinnon, a Cebu Sports Hall of Fame inductee, will get his doctor’s clearance on Oct. 7, and is expected to have his first game as Global FC head coach against Cebu Queen City United on Oct 16.
Mackinnon just had a knee operation last month and is undergoing rehabilitation in Australia.
The former coach of M. Lhuillier and the Carmen National School left for his home country in 2003 to take care of his ailing mother but has returned to the country twice to watch the national team play against Mongolia in Bacolod and Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers in Manila.
“I made the offer to him when we met in Manila,” said Palami, who handled the coaching duties of Global in the recent I Can Serve Foundation friendly games.
And that prospect is already exciting coach Mario Ceniza, Mackinnon’s star player when he was head coach of M. Lhuillier Cebu, when they won the national men’s open title decades ago.
“We never expected this kind of situation,” Ceniza said yesterday. “I’m very happy for him that he’s back in football. We can be friends outside the field but not in the game.”
Like his old mentor, Ceniza will be making his UFL coaching debut this year and has been busy getting the Queen Cebu City team in shape.
“We are in complete control of the team, they are well-disciplined and there are no superstars,” he said.
Some of the players in the 25-man lineup for Queen City are former national team members Rocky Garciano and Jan Michael Flores and former Carmen boys Josaphat Sacil, Jack Reston, Junard Aguilar, Martin Bontia and Julius Acre.
Global will have goalkeeper Paolo Pascual, a former player of Ceniza, Misagh Bahadoran, Angel Aldeguer and the dangerous Izo El-Habbib.
“We are going to play another tuneup game but I’m hoping we can have more games,” Ceniza said. “Dira ra man gud nimo makit-an unsa ilang fitness level ug ilang abilidad.”
As to his former mentor and close friend, Ceniza said, “I’m very happy for him and I hope successful sad siya sa iyang bag-ong career.”
Raffy Musni, the team coordinator, also said the players will get a huge bonus if they beat Palami’s team on Oct. 16.
When he learned of the offer, Palami said, “My team will have to ensure that the Cebu players will not be disappointed. I prefer that they get their bonus from the other teams.”
Queen City will debut against Pachanga on Oct. 9 and will have its final game in the group stage against Iloilo on Oct. 22.
THE Philippine Azkals will leave for Kaoshiung, Taiwan today to start their bid in the Long Teng Cup, a four-nation tournament against Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau, which will start today until Oct. 4.
As a more experienced Philippine squad is being sent this year compared to last year’s, the team will try to improve its third place finish.
Last time around, the squad finished with one win, one draw and one loss. This year, they hope to finally win the title.
The national pool will rely on the leadership of skipper Aly Borromeo with vice captain Emelio Caligdong and other senior players like Phil and James Younghusband, Ian Araneta, Angel Guirado, Roel Gener, Misagh Bahadoran, Jason de Jong and Eduard Sacapano.
There are new faces in the mixed lineup of veterans and youth players released by coach Michael Weiss, including the members of the Under-23 team, which is bound for the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia in November.
Leading the overseas players in the Under-23 training pool is Fil-German goalkeeper Roland Mueller from MSV Duisburg, Fil-Spanish defender Carlos de Murga from Club Portuense and Fil-Belgian Midfielder Jeffrey Christiaens from Torhout KM.
The other Under-23 local players listed are Lemuel Unabia from Negros-Ceres, Reymark Fernandez, Nickson Leonora and Fil-British siblings Mark and Matthew Hartmann, who are both playing for Loyola Meralco Sparks FC.
Kaya FC midfielder Moy Lexton and Oliver Potschke of BFC Preussen Berlin completed the national side lineup.
The Azkals will face the defending champions national team of Hong Kong on their first game on Sept. 30 and they will take on Chinese Taipei on Oct. 2 and last year’s lowest-ranked team Macau on Oct. 4.
They have a scheduled friendly match in Singapore on Oct. 7 before heading home to host an international match against Nepal on Oct. 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
NOMADS Football Club leaned on the heroics of British striker Phil Connelly in the first half as they turned back Kaya FC, 1-0, to clinch the top honors in the men’s division of the first Kia Cup seven-a-side football championships.
Connelly, a customer service manager at a Makati-based call-center company, rolled in the winning marker off an assist by teammate Allistair McReady midway in the first 10 minutes of the game at the Alabang Country Club grounds in Muntinlupa.
The Michael Dennison-coached Nomads FC made it to the finals after sweeping their four-game assignments and then beating Forza FC in the semifinals, 4-3.
A total of 39 squads saw action in the men’s division of this one-day tournament supported by Kia Motors Philippines.
“This shows our commitment in the sport of football. We participate in sports because this is the direction, which Kia is taking,” said Kia Philippines marketing service manager Paterno Soriano.
Kaya FC barged into the men’s finals after prevailing over Global C, 4-3, in the semis. They reached the quarterfinals when they placed second in Group F.
University of the Philippines-A won by penalty shootout over La Salle-A, 3-2, to claim the women’s crown.
Tourism junior Clara Poblador scored the winning goal, which was blast from 10 meters, curving to the left corner of the goal post.
The Maroons reached the finals after they outplayed the Gilligans-Philippine Malditas, 1-0, off a penalty kick from Hope Sales.
La Salle-A stormed to the finals with a 3-1 triumph over University of Santo Tomas-A, behind the efforts of midfielder Pia Bravo and Malditas booter Sam Nierras. Peter Atencio
THE Philippine Azkals will unveil a new lineup when they see action in the four-nation Long Teng Cup, set in Taiwan from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.
New players in the team are Fil-American Lexter Moy, Filipino-British Mark Hartmann, Fil-Belgian Jeff Christiaens, Fil-Spanish Carli de Murga and Fil-German goalkeeper Roland Muller, together with local defenders Lemuel Unabia, Reymark Fernandez and Nickson Leonora.
“It’s an honor to come here and have this great opportunity to learn my Filipino side and be able to play soccer here,” said the 26-year-old Lexter Moy, a defensive midfielder, who was born and raised in New York.
Moy was among the members of the national team who showed up during the first Kia Cup 7-a-side tournament at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa.
The 5’8” Moy, who was also given a chance to play for the Kaya Football Club in the United Football League, later joined the Azkals in the clinics held in the afternoon.
Moy, whose father is a US Marine, who met his mother in Olongapo in the 1980s, used to play for a second division team, Taichung, in Hong Kong from 2009 to 2010.
Other teams taking part in the Long Teng Cup are host Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau.
The Azkals will miss Fil-German booter Stephan Schrock and Fil-British goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who won’t be available due to club commitments.
Azkals regulars Aly Borromeo and Chieffy Caligdong will still be around, along with brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Angel Guirado, Jason de Jong, Misagh Bahadoran, Roel Gener, Ian Araneta,Eduard Sacapano and the returning Matthew Hartmann. Peter Atencio
BY BONG PEDRALVEZ SLOWLY but surely, changes in the national men’s football team are taking place.
In the Azkals’ recent workout at the Rizal Memorial pitch, German coach Michael Weiss, within everybody’s hearing, asked: "Tell me, who is the player not playing his normal position?"
Out on the pitch, one player was obviously out of his usual spot: regular midfielder James Younghusband, 25, was playing defense at right fullback, a position long held by fellow Fil-Brit Rob Gier.
"James seems to be right for the spot. He has speed, good field vision and is also strong," said Weiss of his decision to test the older of the Younghusband brothers at the backline.
Football chief Mariano Araneta Jr., who once played for the national side, was one of those who suggested to the German mentor to try a different set-up after noting the slow reaction of the Azkals’ defense during their two-match Asian World Cup qualifying series against Kuwait.
"The defense was a step slower to respond to Kuwait’s counterattack so I suggested to coach Michael if we could make some changes in the back row," Araneta said.
At 30, Gier could barely keep pace with the relentless Kuwaiti attackers, Araneta observed.
That explains why on that slightly overcast afternoon, James, who has played midfield most of his career, found himself in an unfamiliar spot, aligned with team captain Aly Borromeo in anchoring the defense.
Watching from the sidelines, a small smile appeared on the usually serious German drillmaster’s face as he watched Younghusband perform on the field, apparently pleased with the tinkering he had done.
Like a good soldier, the lanky Azkal resolutely played his role without complaint, although after the workout James said he preferred his old midfield position.
MANILA—Dennis Cagara, a highly-touted Fil-Danish defender, will make his home debut for the Philippines when the Azkals face Nepal in an international friendly on October 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Injuries and conflicts in schedule have delayed Cagara’s debut with the Azkals, whose last international match ended in a 1-3 defeat to Kuwait in the second round of World Cup qualifying. This time, though, the former member of the Danish youth squad, who has played for Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga, has confirmed he is reinforcing what could be the strongest national side assembled. The Nepal friendly will mark the first time that the Azkals will have a full complement of players since it falls on the international football break, Araneta said. Clubs are inclined to release players during the international break. “(Dennis) Cagara will join us for two matches,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “He is a good addition to the team with his skills and experience.” The Azkals will also face Singapore in another international friendly on October 7 in Singapore. Meanwhile, The Philippine Football Federation announced that tickets for the international friendly will be sold starting October 1 through various Ticketworld outlets. Local Organizing Committee chair Bonnie Ladrido said ticket prices range from P300 for side bleachers to P3,000 for the center area of the lower grandstand. Prices for the side area of the upper and lower grandstand are pegged atP1,000 and P1,500, respectively. The center lower grandstand will still cost P2,000, while the center bleachers area tickets has been priced at P500. As a measure to prevent the hoarding of tickets, Ladrido said they will limit purchases to a maximum of five per person. PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said they needed to charge for tickets to augment the cost of hosting the Nepal national team and for bringing in the Azkals players from Europe, including goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders, Ray Jonsson Manny Ott and Rob Gier.
MANILA, Philippines – The Long Teng Cup-bound Philippine Azkals used a strong second half to dominate United Football League’s Kaya Cignal FC, 5-nil, Saturday at the end of the I Can Serve Foundation Football Invitationals before a sizable crowd at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Azkals gained much needed confidence and cohesion with their new lineup heading into the 4-nation Long Teng Cup which is scheduled on Sept. 30-Oct. 4 in Taiwan.
Mark Hartmann opened the scoring parade of the national squad in the second half via penalty kick in the 55th minute. The 19-year old Fil-British striker sailed his attempt above Kaya Cignal’s wall defense to score the stunning goal.
Fil-Spanish Angel Guirado, who just arrived from a brief vacation in Spain two days prior to the match, made the second goal with a crossover fake off his defender at the 67-minute mark of the match. Three minutes later, Chieffy Caligdong followed up a saved shot by Kaya Cignal’s goalie Saba Sadeghi to hike Azkals’ lead, 3-nil.
Phil Younghusband, who aggressively attacked Kaya Cignal’s defense all throughout the match, finally gained ground with two goals – a great feed from his brother James in the 82nd minute and the final goal four minutes later.
Fil-German goalie Roland Muller also made a good account of himself in his debut with the team, saving four attempts of Kaya Cignal as Sudanese striker and the UFL leading scorer Izzeldin El-Habbib was held scoreless.
“I am satisfied with our game especially in the second half. We struggled in the first half as I gave Angel [Guirado] some playing time, one day after coming back. Phil and James [Younghusband] played great especially James on defense,” Azkals coach Michael Wise said.
It was a fitting follow up to Azkals' opening 3-2 win against UFL Cup champion Global Smartmatic last Wednesday.
The national team will leave for Taiwan on Wednesday.
FORTY-SEVEN squads, bannered by the men’s open, are set to vie for top honors for the staging of the Baguio Charter Day Football Tournament at the Melvin Jones football grounds that formally kicks-off Saturday.
The tournament is still part of the founding celebration, Baguio, through Councilor Elmer Datuin, in cooperation with the Baguio United Football Club Inc. and the City Sports Office.
Aside from the tournament, a football festival and training for six and eight under will also commence for the grassroots development program being pushed by Fifa, which is not tournament-oriented but development-oriented.
Seventeen teams are expected to see action in the tough men’s open bannered by men’s national finalist Goshenland Baguio United Football Club, African Boys, Dongola, UB Football Team, Tarlac-Team Tarebalak, University of Northern Philippines, BUFC Squad, University of Melvin Jones (UMJ), PSU Team A and PSU Team B.
Also seen to join the fray in the men’s open are Shockers (c/o Steven Klimberg), Alumni Team-Benguet Alumni FC, Alumni Team B-Benguet Alumni FC, the Benguet State University Varsity squad, Baguio Tigers FC, Black Stars and Vigan Kugtaleros.
The ladies division will be bannered by the famed Baguio Ladies, PSU Team A, PSU Team B, BSU Ladies Team A, BSU Ladies Team B and BSU SLS team while the 16 under will have teams from BSU-SLS Team, Lubas Ole's, Baguio City National High School, Brent International School–Baguio, Hard 11 and New Life.
The 14 under division will have the Divinians (of Urdaneta), BSU SLS Team A, BSU SLS Team B, Lubas Ole's, Baguio City National High School, Brent International School-Baguio, Hard 11 and New Life.
Eight teams will be playing in the 12 under division led by Mighty Oaks (Oakridge International School, Dagupan City), Pine Trees, Flowers, Melvin Jones Football Academy, Small World Christian School Foundation, Inc.,Puguis A, Hard 11 and New Life.
The 10 under competition will have Puguis B, Melvin Jones Football Academy, Small World Christian School Foundation, Inc., Goshenland Team, and New Life. (Roderick Osis)
THE Philippine Azkals will gun for their second win as they face Kaya FC in the last of the three-game friendly in the I Can Serve Invitational at the Rizal Memorial Stadium today.
The charity event, which pits the national pool and two United Football League clubs Global FC and Kaya FC, serves as a prelude to the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Azkals will be fielding both players from the senior team and the under-23 squad as part of their preparation for the Long Teng Cup next month and the Southeast Asian Games in November.
Global FC and Kaya FC are also preparing for the opening of the UFL Cup on Oct. 8.
Expected to lead the national squad today are brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Ian Araneta and Chieffy Calgidong while Kaya will be led by national team regulars Aly Borromeo, Jason Sabio, Nate Burkey and Yannick Tuason.
The week-long friendly opened last Monday with the defending UFL champions Global FC edging Kaya FC, 1-0 win, with Sudanese Izzeldin El-habbib delivering the lone goal for Global.
In the second game last Wednesday, Global FC lost to the national team, 3-2, after erasing a two-goal deficit in the second half.
Araneta’s header late in the match sealed the win for the Azkals, which also got two goals from Phil Younghusband.
Global FC goals came from Misagh Bahadoran, also a member of the national team and El-habbib who scored his second goal in the friendly tournament.
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals are back in training as they prepare for the upcoming Long Teng Cup in Taiwan.
The Azkals will face off against Hong Kong, Taipei and Macau in the 4-nation tournament.
Joining the Azkals in the competition is Angel Guirado, along with new Azkals Carli Martinez de Murga and brothers Matthew and Mark Hartmann.
On October 7, the Azkals will play against the Singaporean national team in a friendly game.
Stephan Schrock, Jerry Lucena, Dennis Cagara and Paul Mulders are expected to see action against the Singaporeans.
The Azkals will also play a friendly game against Nepal on October 11 at the Rizal Memorial field.
The tickets for the Azkals' game against Nepal will go on sale on October 1, according to Futbol.ph. Ticket prices range from P300 for bleachers seats to P3,000 for grandstand seats. -- With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News
Global FC v Stallions FC 4:00PM Rizal Kaya FC v Schwarz FC 7:00PM UMak
9. October Victory Liner – Diliman FC v ABC Stars FC 11:00AM ACC - A Forza FC v Dolphins United FC 11:00AM ASCom* Lions FC v Baguio FC 1:00PM ACC - A Garuda FC Ph v Manhur FC 1:00PM ASCom* Cebu Queen City United FC v Pachanga FC 1:00PM UMak Team Socceroo FC v Internacionale FC 3:00PM ACC - A Laos FC v Philippine Navy FC 3:00PM ASCom* Loyola Meralco Sparks FC v Agila FC 3:00PM UMak Nomads FC v Union Internacional Manila 4:00PM Nomads Green Archers United FC v Pasargad FC 5:00PM UMak Philippine Air Force FC v Manila All-Japan FC 6:00PM Nomads Philippine Army FC v Sunken Garden United FC 8:00PM Nomads
MANILA—Veterans Aly Borromeo and Chieffy Caligdong will lead the new-look Philippine Azkals when they vie in the Long Teng Cup in Kaohsiung, Taiwan from September 28 to October 4.
Brothers Phil and James Younghusband are also in the side, which will unveil new players in Filipino-British Mark Hartmann, Fil-Belgian Jeff Christiaens, Fil-Spanish Carli de Murga and Fil-German goalkeeper Roland Muller and local defenders Lemuel Unabia, Reymark Fernandez and Nickson Leonora.
The newcomers form the core of the Under-23 squad for the Southeast Asian Games slated in November in Indonesia.
The Azkals, who finished third last year, kick off their campaign against Hong Kong on Sept. 30, before facing Chinese-Taipei on October 2 and Macau on October 4.
Azkals manager Dan Palami believes they have assembled a stronger squad this time for the four-nation tournament, despite the presence of young players.
“I think we can consider that the team we will be sending in the Long Teng considerably stronger,” said Palami.
Lexton Moy, a US-raised midfielder, and Fil-German defender Oliver Poetschke have also been included in the 20-man roster, along with regulars Angel Guirado, Jason de Jong, Misagh Bahadoran, Roel Gener, Ian Araneta and Eduard Sacapano and the returning Matthew Hartmann.
“The Long Teng Cup is geared towards allowing us to improve on our rankings and at the same time allow our new players to have more international matches to play together,” said Palami.
The Azkals dropped three places in the latest Fifa rankings, slipping to No. 165.
The Azkals actually prepared for their Suzuki Cup campaign last year by seeing action in the Long Teng Cup, where they lost to Hong Kong (2-4) tied Chinese-Taipei (1-1) and crushed Macau (5-0).
“We have come full circle and and we will see how far we will go this time,” said Palami. “The new players are very promising. They are very good additions to the team and we’re eager to watch them in the international competition.”
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals leaned on Ian Araneta’s goal late in the match to get past UFL champion Global FC, 3-2, today in the I Can Serve Football Invitationals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Azkals, who mixed the Under-23 national team in this match, attacked aggressively from the kick-off resulting in Phil Phil Younghusband’s goal off Mark Hartmann’s perfect assist inside the box barely four minutes into the match.
Global Smartmatic had several chances to score but Eduard Sacapano, Neil Etheridge’s back-up, did a great job defending the pitch for the Azkals in the early minutes of the match.
Saving his own shot, Younghusband again connected in the 29th minute mark to double the Azkals’ lead, 2-nil.
A crack on the Azkals’ defense led to Global’s Misagh Bahadoran, who is also a member of the national training pool, to cut the lead, 2-1, just before the break.
Global equalized with seven minutes into the second half as Sudanese and UFL’s leading scorer Izzeldin El-Habbib scored on a long lob to tie the match at 2-all. The goal was El-Habbib’s second in the charity tournament that serves as a kick-off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month this coming October.
With the momentum shift, Global FC kept on pressuring the Azkals’ defense, which missed skipper Aly Borromeo and Anton Del Rosario with both defenders nursing injuries. But Sacapano proved to be tough enough as the back-up goal keeper saved consecutive attempts by Global’s Bahadoran and El-Habbib.
Fresh legs saved the Azkals from a draw with late substitute Araneta making an immediate impact with a header from fellow reserve Jeff Christiaens in the 85th minute.
The win was the second in a row for the Azkals against Global FC, which is also being managed by national team manager Dan Palami.
The Azkals scored a 3-1 victory against Global FC last Sept. 11 during their Bacolod training camp. With the Younghusband brothers still grieving their mother’s untimely death due to massive heart failure, Hartmann took the scoring cudgels with a hat-trick.
The Azkals will meet Kaya Cignal, which absorbed a 1-nil loss at the hands of Global last Monday, in the final game of the charity tournament backed by LBC and Sun Life.
The match, which is expected to draw a good weekend crowd, will be held on Saturday at 3pm in the same venue. The match will be telecast at 5pm on AKTV on IBC Channel 13, TV5's sports channel.
MANILA, Philippines -- With an overhauled squad featuring youthful players, the Philippine national women squad is positive about its chances in the ASEAN women’s football tournament in Vientiane, Laos.
National coach Ernie Nierras believes the team, also known as the Malditas, can improve from their 6th place finish last year in the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Football Championship, which runs from October 16 to 25.
“If all things go according to plan, we aim to be there on October 25,” said Nierras, referring to the date of the championship, on Tuesday’s PSA forum at the Shakey’s UN Avenue branch in Manila.
Nierras was joined in the session backed by Shakey’s, Smart, PAGCOR and Outlast Battery by Fil-Am Heather Cooke, Fil-German Kristina Kuter, Belai Fernando and Sam Nierras, the daughter of the national coach.
The elder Nierras said the Malditas is bracketed in Group B with top seed Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.
Group A is consisted of Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Laos.
The Filipina booters will open their campaign on October 17 against Myanmar.
“We finished sixth out of eight teams the last time we competed in this tournament in 2009, but with the players we have now, I’m optimistic we can do better this time around,” the coach said.
The 5’8” Cooke, who has been getting raves from the coaching for her play, said she was delighted to make her national team debut with the Malditas.
“It’s a great privilege for me to play for the country of my mom,” said Cooke, whose mother hails from Iloilo. “I hope that I can contribute to this team.”
The 22-year-old defender played for Loyola Maryland in the NCAA Division 1.
The bespectacled Kuter, meanwhile, immediately impressed Nierras with her playing ability.
Kuter’s mother is a native of Kabangkalan, Negros Occidental, saw practice for the first time with the Malditas early Tuesday morning.
“All I heard was ‘boom, boom, boom’ in practice before we got here,” said Nierras of the 22-year-old midfielder’s powerful shots during the workout of the bespectacled Fortuna Cologne stalwart.
The 22-year-old Nierras, a mainstay of the Ateneo women’s varsity squad, said the recent additions made her also hopeful on their chances in the AFF competition.
The nationals are scheduled to fly for Laos on October 13, a day before the team managers’ meeting in the 8-nation tournament, the elder Nierras said.
ANILA, Philippines — This early, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is already plotting a busy year 2012 for the Azkals, who will be playing more international friendlies and could possibly battle Europe-based clubs at home.
PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Sunday said that they will be capitalizing on the five international friendly windows next year to keep the Azkals sharp in preparation for the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Championships (AFC) in December 2012. At the PFF board meeting Saturday, Araneta also disclosed plans to invite English Premiere League side Fulham FC – the club of Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge – or another Premiership squad Blackburn for a friendly possibly in June next year. “We are at the planning stage but we really want to make these (matches) happen,” said Araneta, who was able to get in touch with a Qatar-based events management firm that has links with Fulham and Blackburn.
Both Araneta and Azkals team manager Dan Palami stressed that playing matches during international break will further improve the national side since it will have the full complement of players during those dates.
The Azkals, currently preparing for the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan late this month and friendly matches against Singapore and Nepal, will also be in action in January after the PFF accepted the invitation of Spanish third division club CF Madrid for a friendly match between January 4 to 7.
Staging a friendly pitting the Azkals and reigning Asean champion Malaysia on February 29 will be a priority of the PFF as the national side prepares for the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal.
Araneta also announced the expanded role Palami, who has been appointed head of the PFF marketing group during the board meeting.
Palami, who is also Leyte FA president, said he plans to package sponsorships for the Azkals and the PFF to make sure that the federation’s other programs will also get backers.
Palami will be joined in the marketing group by Laguna FA president Jun Pacificador and PFF treasurer Bonnie Ladrido.
MANILA, Philippines – Global Smartmatic scored a 1-nil victory against Kaya Cignal at the start of the I Can Serve Football Invitational Games today at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Sudanese Izzeldin El-habbib scored on an early goal to power the Global Smartmatic to the opening day win in the charity invitationals backed by LBC and Sun Life Insurance that served as a kick-off to Breast Cancer Awareness Month this coming October.
El-habbib, the top scorer in the last UFL season, eluded Kaya’s defense and took advantage with a long goal, four minutes into the match.
Kaya found an opening to equalize when Global’s goal keeper Paolo del Rosario was sent off after a hand ball outside the penalty box on Ivory Coast native Eric Dragoh’s attempt midway in the first half.
But Kaya, behind the efforts of Dagroh and Philippine Azkals’ Nate Burkey and Jason Sabio, failed on several chances to equalize as Global hung tough with key defensive stops.
Global will challenge the Philippine Azkals on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the same venue. Kaya will take its turn against the national team on Saturday.
Breast Cancer survivor and actress Maritoni Fernandez kicked off the event as the guest of honor with ticket proceeds of the three-day invitationals going to I Can Serve Foundation, which helps spread awareness and fight breast cancer.
Tickets to the charity games, which are pegged at P300 (lower box), P150 (upper grandstand), P75 (center bleachers) and P50 (side bleachers), are available at Mizuno branches in Bonifacio High Street, Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center and SM Megamall, select LBC branches and at the venue.
All games are telecast on the same day at 5 p.m. on AKTV on IBC.
By Mike T. Limpag Fair Play Sunday, September 18, 2011
YEP, the United Football League (UFL) loves the Visayas fans so much they decided to put up a Visayas Division for the UFL Cup.
It’s either that or the football gods have quite a sense of humor.
I mean, how would you explain the draw for the UFL Cup? Of the four Visayas teams in the 28-team field, all of them got picked, by four different folks, to be in one four-team bracket in Group C?
Global FC (Dan Palami of Leyte), Pachanga (which will have Bacolod players and will be led by Norman Fegidero), Stallions FC (of Nonong Araneta of Iloilo) got picked one after the other in Group C?
What’s the probability of that happening? It’s so rare that I’m going to look for number combinations in the teams and the UFL draw for a lottery entry. Or I could just ask those four guys to pick me six numbers.
Jaron Genota, who must have a direct line to the football gods, tweeted after the third team was picked, “Wow! Group of Death, Group C: Global, Pachanga and Stallions.
Isa pang malakas para mas masaya!”
And, like I said, because the football gods have a sick sense of humor, that isa-pang-malakas para-mas-masaya happened to be UFL debutant Cebu Queen City United, which, just a week ago was busy identifying its coaching staff and two weeks ago, had no idea it was joining the UFL.
And Jaron is to blame. Maybe the PFF should bring him when AFC holds the draw for the Challenge Cup? That way, he can have all the tough teams in one draw and put the Philippines in an easier group.
So CQCU will be up against the three teams that made the Smart Club Championships semis in its UFL Cup debut.
“You wanted a UFL Southern Division? You got it!” Kaya team owner Santi Araneta, the man who convinced Queen City to join the league, tweeted.
And of course, since it’s a special Visayas Division in the UFL Cup, Santi said the games will be televised and the Iloilo Stallions vs. Queen City match could even serve as the opener.
But that’s not the match I’m really interested in. It’s the Global FC vs. Cebu Queen City match that I’m really curious about because it will pit Paolo Pascual against the Cebuanos.
I told Paolo, who was a chubby second-grader the first time I interviewed him, for the first time I’d be rooting against him because of the draw, while his dad, Joel, told me that in Cebu vs. Global, “Diri ra ko sa ako anak,” but we both know that this is a game that we’d be happy whoever wins.
And Global, being the defending champion, will go all-out against Cebu, the newbie in Group C.
How will Cebu, who, as of last Saturday was still finalizing its lineup, fare against the heavyweights? We will all find out. And, fans in Cebu can follow the games too because these will be televised.
TWO players from Davao City have been named to the Philippine national women's football team, which is set to compete in the 2011 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship in Laos next month.
The Davao booters are no other than the charming identical twins Marie and Marice Magdolot. The two will form part of the national squad named Malditas, who are set to participate in the Vientiane tournament from October 16 to 25.
The Magdolot twins graduated from the Philippine Women's College (PWC) and are now football scholars at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).
The inclusion of the two sisters to the Philippine national team came as a positive note for a Davao football that has ripened through the years. Several young players, boys and girls alike, were also tapped to play for flag and country in various international competitions the past three years.
The national women's team will actually return to action after a two-year hiatus. The Malditas have not played since 2009 when they lost to Vietnam in Myanmar.
In Laos, the Philippine team will be bracketed in Group B and will open its campaign agaimst Myanmar. The Malditas will also play against Thailand and Malaysia in the group stage.
Aside from the Magdolot twins, the PH campaign will be led by Filipino-Americans Heather Cooke and Patrice Impelido, Filipino-Germans Cristina Keuter and Lorrene Bayani, and Canadian Mallory Dayot.
Also in the team are captain Marielle Benitez, Louella Leah Amamio, Samantha Nierras, Maan del Carmen, Isabella Fernando, Kyra Tagbo, Stephanie Pheasant, Jowee-Ann Barruga, Nikki Regalado, Natasha Alquiros, Joma Clemente, Betina Yang, Inna Palacios, Camille Rodriguez, Jane Mariz Pacana, Aiza Moreno, Zipporah Luna, Nenita Burgess and Pricilla Rubio. Coach is Ernie Nierras. (CRAM)
"The international friendlies will follow the global schedule of FIFA. There are 5 windows in the FIFA calendar for next year allowing for these types of competitions. The teams that the PFF will invite to play will include both national teams and international clubs. First on tap will be a team from either the Segunda Division B or the Tercera Liga of Spain’s La Liga. This match is being eyed for the first week of January. The next identified match will be in the first week of June, 2012 where an invitation to Fulham (among others) of the English Premier League is expected to be extended. These plans are in the initial stages and the PFF will release updated information when they become available."
CEBU QUEEN City United FC will undergo a baptism of fire after getting a tough group during the draw for the UFL Cup yesterday in Manila.
Cebu QC United, which will make its debut in the country’s premier football competition next month, is in Group C together with defending UFL Cup champion Global FC, Pachanga and Stallions.
Global, Pachanga and Stallions also made the semifinals of the PFF Smart Club Championships, which was won by Global FC.
“This is really a baptism of fire,” Cebu QC United coach Mario Ceniza said. “Of the four teams, kita lang ang kulang in terms of exposure.”
Global FC also competes in the UFL First Division, while the Stallions compete in Division 2.
“It’s unlucky that Global and Cebu are in one group but that’s what football brings,” Global FC goalkeeper Paolo Pascual said. Pascual is from Cebu and used to play under Ceniza in Paref-Springdale.
Pachanga, of team owner Freddy Gonzales, a former national team member and the first Pinoy to play under contract in Vietnam, will be led by former national team coach Norman Fegidero.
The three teams, curiously, have links to the Visayas. Global FC is considered a Leyte squad because of team owner Dan Palami; Pachanga will be fielding players from Bacolod; and Stallions is owned by Nonong Araneta of Iloilo and fields Ilonggos.
“The opening matches might be from Group B and C. I also believe that the Stallions vs. Queen City game will surely be televised (since it will be) Iloilo vs. Cebu,” UFL’s Santi Araneta said in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
“Ang ato lang gyud is to hopefully make it to the top two,” Ceniza said.
Though some of his players were able to hold Global FC to a draw in a tournament in Tacloban a few months ago, Ceniza said that isn’t a real gauge of how the team would fare.
“That’s not really a gauge because they have new players coming in and we are also coming up with a new system. So I can’t really give a prediction,” Ceniza said.
However, despite the odds and the club’s absence of a lineup, Ceniza is optimistic.
“A coach has to be optimistic because that will influence the players,” Ceniza said.
Ceniza and the club members were set to meet again last night to go over their lineup, which they have to submit on Sept. 30.
They were also set to discuss the holding of friendly matches to help prepare the squad and are looking to face the University of San Carlos, who is coincidentally coached by Joshua Fegidero. They will also discuss Palami’s offer of a friendly with Global, which will hold a training camp in Tacloban next week.
The top two in the eight four-team groups and the two best third-ranked teams will advance to the knockout round-of-16.
The other teams in the UFL Cup are Nomads, Baguio, Exin Internacional and Lions in Group A, Loyola, Internacional FC, Agila and Team Socceroo in Group B, Kaya-Cignal, ABC Stars, Schwarz and Diliman Victory Liner in Group D, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Manila Al-Japan and Laos in Group E, Green Archers, Dolphins United, pasargad and Forza in Group F, Philippine Army, Manhur, Sunken Garden and Garuda in Group G.
NOT a few football fans were giddy when the news broke out that Cebu, finally, will have a team in the United Football League—the country’s premier football competition.
Araceli Socorro Estoso, the Blue-Haired Fanatic’s right hand woman, spent a few minutes pondering whether to cheer for her alma mater or for a team showcasing her roots.
Have something to report? Tell us in text, photos or videos.
Her tweet, I think, shows how she decided, “Wa na gyud, labanan na ni sa gigikanan!”
Gabriel Abejaron Jr., who said he liked the club name, also asked on Twitter where he could get the Queen City United merchandise and said the team should get Paolo Pascual as keeper.
Now Paolo is under contract with Global FC and although the team owner has promised he will lend the Cebuano to a Cebu team in the UFL, I just learned that if Dan does that, he will have to redefine the meaning of the word “sacrifice.”
But hey, not too long ago, Dan Palami also redefined “faith” so, seeing Paolo in a Cebu team may not be impossibile.
As to Paolo? The young keeper who has earned quite a following already tweeted that he was “so happy Cebu is now forming a team for the UFL.”
Whether we will see Paolo in the team or not, I think, will depend on a meeting a few days from now.
Paolo’s former teammate TJ Matteo, who was pointing to the heavens after scoring a penalty kick the last time I saw him, got so boosted by the news he promised he’d get back in shape so he could play again.
Hopefully for Cebu Queen City United under his old coach Mario Ceniza.
“You are my witnesses,” he said in a couple of tweets to me and Paolo, “No. 11 will make his comeback.”
I hope to see No. 11 return too and I think a UFL stint makes for a wonderful motivation to get in shape.
All this, of course, adds pressure to the team, one that basically didn’t exist less than 10 days ago.
So do I see Cebu Queen City United winning the UFL Cup?
Of course not! That would be too far-fetched. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be wishing for a miracle.
What I hope to see in CQCU is a team that Cebuanos will be proud of, one that doesn’t play dirty and one that doesn’t give up.
I hope, too, that Cebu Queen City United, will indeed, unite the Cebu football community. We’ve been in the outside looking when it comes to matters involving the UFL and now, we finally have a team we can call our own.
Yes, Cebu football is a fractured bunch and there are factions—curiously the leaders of both factions are low profile but their followers aren’t—but this is not about which side of the fence you are sitting.
This is about a Cebu team in the UFL.
This is about Cebuanos in the national stage.
This is about, as what Santi Araneta of the UFL said, setting a trend that the other regions could follow.
Fielding a UFL is no easy feat and fielding a UFL squad with less than a month to identify your players is even tougher. Officers of Cebu Queen City United met Araneta on Sept. 7, and the deadline for the initial lineup was yesterday.
“We’re cramming,” Raffy Musni told me the other week.
The coaching staff, too, had to cram months of preparation into two short weeks.
And coach Mario Ceniza’s assessment of the players being woefully out-of-shape isn’t exactly unexpected.
“Conditioning wise, on a scale of 1 to 10, they are at two or three,” the coach told me the other day.
Aside from that, there’s the manpower problems as some players the club wanted to get are tied up with their college campaign and the players they are getting are busy with their jobs.
But the despite all those odds, the club is plunging, head on.
And that’s why I admire the club officers’ courage.
That’s why we should, too, support the club.
This is our team, the underdogs facing off with our country’s best.
And didn’t we always want to know how we fare against the best?
With at least 25 teams vying for the title, the stage is set for the United Football League Cup draw on Friday at the E’s Bar at the Edsa Shangri-la.
The league is still awaiting confirmation from six more teams.
Already though, expectations are high that this could be the most exciting Cup tournament yet for the league with the entry of high-profile players and a television deal with TV5 which is also expected to be signed Friday.
The UFL Cup kicks off October 8.
Defending champion Global FC and league titlist Air Force, which battled to a memorable final last January, will be among the favorites anew, along with first division squads Kaya FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks and Philippine Army.
Green Archers United FC, Philippine Navy and newly-promoted Nomads are also entered in the Cup together second division sides Dolphins United, Lions, Union Internacionale Manila and Stallions FC, which reached the quarterfinals last season.
National team standouts like Phil and James Younghusband and Angel Guirado are expected to make their debuts in the Cup.
The Younghusbands have linked up with Loyola Meralco, while Guirado is part of the formidable attack line at Global FC.
Kaya has also snapped up national players Nate Burkey and Jason Sabio to beef up its squad that already includes Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo and veteran internationalists Anton del Rosario and Yannick Tuason.
Adding excitement to this year’s Cup is the participation of 13 guest sides from as far as Cebu and Leyte in the South and Baguio in the North.
Cebu Queen City and Leyte’s Laos FC are among the guest teams vying in the Cup, along with Baguio FC.
The other new teams that have confirmed their participation are ABC Stars, Agila FC, Victory Liner-DIliman FC, Forza FC, Garuda FC PH, Internacionale FC, Manhur FC, Schwarz FC and Team Socceroo and Pachanga FC.
Although they have already confirmed their participation, the league is still awaiting Manila All-Japan, Pasargad, Sunken Garden and Manila Sudanese Club to formalize their registration for the Cup.
Bacolod-based side Ceres FC and Grigio di Solaroli FC have expressed their interest to join the league, but have yet to confirm their participation.
THE country’s premier league—United Football League (UFL)—just got bigger.
Cebuano football fans will now have something to look forward to in the UFL with the entry of the Cebu Queen City United in the UFL Cup, which will start on Oct. 8 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and the University of Makati Pitch.
Raffy Musni, the team coordinator of the Cebu Amateur Football Club (CAFC), will fly to Manila today to attend the manager’s meeting and for the draw of the UFL Cup, which has attracted 28 teams so far.
They will also submit their P25,000 entry fee and the 25-man initial lineup today and though they will have until Sept. 30 to hand in their final roster.
The UFL recently signed a five-year P150-million deal with TV 5.
“I’m excited to see the quality of Cebu footballers and the growth of interest of fans in Cebu,” UFL’s Santi Araneta told Sun.Star Cebu.
Araneta, who met CAFC officers last week, said Cebu’s entry will increase the overall ratings of the UFL.
“We believe that their quality will land them a spot in the league and hopefully, in the first division in a year or two. I also believe that they will set the trend for the other regions to follow,” Araneta said.
The team will be led by coach Mario Ceniza with assistant coaches Dennis Peñalosa, Hayato Ayabe, Allan Medalle and Frederick Alazas.
Ceniza has been conducting tryouts since Wednesday said the top priority is the conditioning of the players since most of them haven’t played in a competitive tournament in months.
“As of now, on a scale of one to 10, their conditioning is at 2 or three,” said Ceniza, who has less than a month to get the players in shape.
Among those who showed up for the tryouts are former PH U17 team member Junard Aguilar, who topped the fitness test, and high school standout Blui Arriola.
Ceniza said he would have wanted to tap Cebu-based former national team members Arni Pasenabo and Joshua Fegidero but both have commitments with UFL clubs.
“I told the players to forget whatever they learned or what their usual practice is in their clubs because this is a different level. Whoever makes the 25, they must all be fit to play in the first 11,” Ceniza said.
Ceniza also said he hopes to address their goalkeeping problem since of the three keepers they have identified, one can’t attend regular practice due to his job as a police officer, the other doesn’t have the experience and the third is out-of-shape.
To help address that problem, Dakay is planning to meet with Global FC team owner Dan Palami, who has earlier promised to lend Paolo Pascual to a Cebu team that joins the UFL.
Pascual, one of the goalkeepers in the Under-23 training pool, is under contract with Global FC.
The club is also open to the possibility of getting the services of former national team members Chad Gould and Leigh Gunn who are based abroad but trace their roots in Cebu.
“We still have until Sept. 30 and we still have some wiggle room,” said Dakay.
MANILA—The chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee Thursday assured that the men’s football team has a spot in the Philippine delegation for the Southeast Asian Games slated in November in Indonesia.
POC chairman Monico Puentevella made the assurance after Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta expressed concern that the Olympic body had reportedly put a “conditional” status on football’s stint in the biennial meet.
“As far as we are concerned, we see no reason why football will not be included in our SEA Games lineup,” said Puentevella. “We don’t know where that rumor (that football will be excluded) is coming from.”
Araneta said they should be informed early if their participation will not be approved by the POC.
“We are trying our best to form a competitive team,” Araneta told the Inquirer, pointing out that the PFF has even scheduled a camp in Japan in October just to prepare the squad. “We are spending money to prepare the team.”
Meanwhile, Phil and James Younghusband are expected to be back in training next week after a short bereavement leave, following the death of their mother, Susan, last Saturday.
Azkals coach Michael Weiss said he is actually leaving it up to the Younghusbands to decide when they return for training or whether or not they will see action in the Long Teng Cup.
“The final decision will come from them,” said Weiss, known to be strict on attendance in Azkals training, at the close of their week-long camp in Bacolod City.
“We understand that they are in a period of mourning and the team is one with them. Although I expect them to be back with the team as soon as possible and join us in Taiwan, it will be there choice.”
The Younghusbands’ mother, Susan, died of massive heart attack Saturday night. She was 49.
Cathy Rivilla, the Younghusbands’ business manager, said Phil and James are keen on joining training next week and beef up the squad for the Taiwan tournament.
“They know that their mom would want them to play on,” Rivilla said.
The Azkals are preparing for the Long Teng Cup in Kauhsiung, Taiwan from September 28 to October 4 and friendlies against Singapore on October 7 and Nepal on October 11.
They won their two matches in Bacolod, prevailing via 3-1 scorelines against UFL side Global FC and Ceres-Negros, the core of which was composed of players from the Suzuki Cup Under-23 champion team.
Although the Azkals missed standouts like Aly Borromeo, Anton del Rosario, Chieffy Caligdong and Jason Sabio in the camp, Weiss said there were plenty of positives that came out from the Bacolod matches.
For one, Mark Hartmann, the 19-year-old Fil-British midfielder, showcased superb form, firing a hat-trick against Global and two more goals against Ceres in a match sponsored by Suzuki.
“The camp was fantastic,” said Weiss. “We worked very hard in training. The players were focused and it showed in the good results against strong teams.”
Weiss has tipped Hartmann to be the cornerstone of the Under-23 squad bound for the Southeast Asian Games.
“He can be a future player for the seniors team,” Weiss said of the Loyola Meralco Sparks standout.
“He will control the style of play for the Under-23 team. But he needs to work more defensively. But his vision and perspective on the game is fantastic.”
Weiss revealed that Borromeo, Del Rosario, Sabio and Caligdong were left out from the Bacolod camp because they “extended their holidays.”
Kick breast cancer goodbye at the ICanServe Invitational, a charity football tournament featuring the Philippine Azkals and top United Football League clubs Global Futbol Club and Kaya Futbol Club.
Slated on September 19 to 24 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the tournament is a single round format with Azkals like Aty Borromeo Anton del Rosario Jason Sabio Nate Burkey of Kaya and Misagh Bahadoran of Global playing for their respective clubs when they face the national team.
Proceeds of the tournament will benefit the ICanServe Foundation, a non profit organization that promotes early breast cancer detection through community-based screening and high-impact information campaigns.
Match sked: KayaFC vs GlobalFC on Monday (September 19); GlobalFC vs Azkals on Wednesday (September 21); Azkals vs KayaFC on Saturday (September 24).
All matches will have 3 p.m. kickoff times and will be aired at 5 p.m. on the same day on AKTV Channel 13, the sports channel of TV5.
Buy your tickets at LBC outlets and Mizuno Alabang Town Center, Trinoma, Mall of Asia, High Street and Megamall. Ticket prices: P50 for fight and left bleachers; P75 for middle bleachers; P150 for upper grandstand; P300 for lower grandstand. First 1,000 fans get free bleacher tickets, sponsored by LBC and SunLife.
PHILIPPINE Men's Football Team-Azkals displayed supremacy over the Ceres-Negros Team yesterday, 3-1, in a friendly match before the 7,000 Negrenses watching at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City.
Mark Hartman was Azkals' marked man, as he led the nationals with two goals.
Hartman scored his first in the 35th minute when he volleyed the ball towards the goal off the missed shot of Ian Araneta after the latter clashes with Ceres' keeper Michael Louie Casas just above the penalty area. Both Casas and Araneta fell on the ground leaving Ceres goal unguarded.
The home team has been very aggressive on offense but unfortunate to nail a goal as all attempts went wide, including a Ruben Doctora Jr. strike from 15 yards that hit the bar.
Azkals led the half, 1-nil.
In the resumption of the game, Araneta scored a header at close range in the 46th minute off the pass from Hartman to put the nationals on top, 2-nil.
However, refused to give up, Doctora scored a close range goal in the 69th minute off a corner kick to put the game closer, 2-1.
Another missed opportunity for the Ceres to equalize the match on Aldrin Dolino's strike from the center just above the penalty box after the referee called for an offside.
But despite that call, the home team remained focused and tried to keep the Negros pride, as they tried several goal attempts but were unsuccessful.
With eight minutes left before the final whistle, Hartmann scored his second and the team's third goal in the 82nd minute from 18 yards left of the field. The strike was too strong as it went through the goal, impossible for Ceres' keeper Casas to save.
On the other hand, in the press conference held after the match, both Azkals’ team manager Dan Palami and head coach Hans Michael Weiss admitted that the local squad gave them a tough game.
"The Negros team was strong that we got some problem in the beginning but got the momentum after our first goal," Weiss said. "I've seen lots of good players from the Ceres Team and hopefully they can be part of the national squad," the German mentor added.
Meanwhile, Palami and Weiss explained the absence of Azkals' key men skipper Aly Borromeo, co-skipper Chieffy Caligdong, defender Anton del Rosario and Fil-spanish striker Angel Guirado.
Weiss said that it is management's decision to impose disciplinary action over these standouts. According to him, these players failed to report on the field during the resumption of their training and have not communicated with them regarding the matter.
"But the disciplinary action does not mean that these players are already out of the national team. This will only give them some time to think twice before they do such actions. They are still very welcome to the team," Weiss added.
The weeklong camp and friendly matches in Bacolod are part of the national squad's preparation in the forthcoming Long Teng Cup in Taiwan slated September 28 to October 4 in Taiwan and Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia on November 11 to 22.
MANILA—The Philippine national women’s football team comes out of a two-year hiatus when it sees action in the Asean Football Championship slated October 16 to 25 in Vientiane, Laos.
Drawing inspiration from the feat of the men’s team which made heads turn with a semifinal finish in the Suzuki Cup last year, the squad, collectively known as the Malditas, is looking to improve after losing all three games in the tournament two years ago.
The Malditas have not played since October14, 2009 when they lost 0-11 to Vietnam in Myanmar. That team also lost to Australia, 0-14, and Myanmar B, 1-5, in the same tournament.
Because they haven’t been playing international matches the past two years, the Malditas have even lost their Fifa ranking. The Malditas were pinned at 128 in November last year, their lowest ranking in history. But with a stronger squad playing next month in the Laos capital where the men’s team also started its amazing semifinal run in the Suzuki Cup, the Malditas’ status could change soon.
Coach Ernie Nierras is confident that the Malditas can put up a tougher stand this time. “Now is the time to shine for us,” Nierras told the Inquirer. “Hopefully, this (tournament) will jumpstart women’s football same as what happened with the men’s team.”
Part of Nierras’ optimism stems from the inclusion of several foreign-based players in the squad, including Fil-American Heather Cooke, a former Division 1 player at Loyola Marymount, who traces her roots in Iloilo. The 22-year-old Cooke, who starred in the reality show “Real World” on MTV in the United States, is expected to shore up the Malditas’ backline. Nierras said that with the 5-foot-9 Cooke’s presence gives the team “options that they never had before.”
Height, though, isn’t just Cooke’s best asset. “I’m the kind of player who will give everything for the team for 90 minutes,” Cooke, who played four seasons in the NCAA, told the Inquirer in an interview shortly after arriving Tuesday night.
And with a team whose average is 20, Cooke’s experience will come in handy as the Malditas gear up for the tough grind in Laos. In preparation for the tournament, the Malditas have also played matches against men’s teams in the “Ang Liga.”
Marielle Benitez will still skipper the squad which also boasts of former UAAP Most Valuable Players Samantha Nierras and Stephanie Peasant, US-based Patrice Impelido, Fil-Canadian Mallory Dayot, Germany-based Cristina Keuter and Lorrene Bayani and Nenita Burgess from Australia.
Also part of the team are Inna Palacios, Maan Del Carmen, Louella Amamio, Isabella Fernando,Jowee Barruga, Marice Magdolot, Natasha Alquiros, Nikki Regalado, Joma Clemente, Bettina Yang, Jane Pacana, Camille Rodriguez, Aiza Mondero, Zipporah Luna, Marie Magdolot, Pricilla Rubio, Kyra Tagbo and Angel Metillo.
IN A news item last week, Coach Michael Weiss blasted unnamed players for missing practice and said they shouldn’t slacken in their preparation for the Long Teng Cup next month.
He also took quite a dig by adding, “I’ve seen players more on billboards coming from Alabang to the training. I see them on billboards more often than on the pitch.”
They weren’t named in the report but the players were Kaya FC’s Anton del Rosario, Ali Borromeo and Jason Sabio, who missed practice on instructions of the team owner.
“It hasn’t been reported in the papers but he’s punishing our players,” the owner told me last week. “And he’s not bringing them to Bacolod.”
True enough, the players aren’t in Bacolod and missed out in the Azkals’ 3-1 wins over Global and Ceres-Negros U23.
But why did he tell the players to skip the Azkal practice, though?
The Azkals may practice just two hours a day, but the players spend twice that traveling to and from practice, leaving them too tired for club activities.
And the owner, who spent P9 million on his club and has just signed the Azkals to lucrative deals, wants his money’s worth by having his players on hand for club activities—on the pitch or off it.
And you can’t really accuse Kaya FC of being selfish since during a crucial run in the last UFL season, they missed del Rosario and Borromeo who were on a scouting trip in the US.
So, was he justified in telling his players to miss practice?
Perhaps. But perhaps the players could have informed Coach Weiss beforehand?
Because they didn’t, as Cebuanos are wont to say, niulbo ang kaspa ni coach.
But, since I’m forever the optimist in Philippine football lately, I think something good will come out of this.
Almost all of the Azkals based here have signed deals—lucrative ones that even surpass the monthly pay of the top PBA rookies—with UFL clubs and as the national team gets busy with a lot of scheduled friendlies, and the UFL getting bigger this year, conflicts like this will rise often.
And before the problem gets out of hand, why not find a solution?
This isn’t Europe where big clubs hold a power struggle with their national associations, or even Fifa, to hold on to their players, this is the Philippines, where everyone in football, it seems, knows everyone else.
Besides, the Azkals need the UFL, the UFL needs the Azkals.
So, talk it over, guys. Besides, as a UFL team owner, Dan Palami is the perfect conduit between the national team and the club owners.