THE Philippine national men’s football team Azkals will rely on its much vaunted offense in their game against the national team of Guam at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Panaad Park and Stadium, Mansilingan, Bacolod City.
“We will attack early and put pressure on our opponents,” disclosed Azkals coach Michael Weiss during the press conference Sunday at Luxor Place, Bacolod City where the team is billeted.
With Weiss during the presscon were Azkals poster boys James and Phil Younghusband and Junie Lizares, president of the Visayas Football League which sponsors the event.
Lizares thanked Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo G. Marañon for his overwhelming support for football.
“Gov. Marañon has been very supportive of football and its development in Negros. Within his support, it is impossible for us to host such an event here in the province,” said Lizares.
The Younghusband brothers are very excited to play again in Panaad.
“The support, warmth and love of the fans here before, during and after the game give us greater stamina and strength,” the Younghusbands chorused when they were asked what their ‘homecoming’ in Bacolod means to them.
Tuesday’s game against Guam caps the Azkals’ three-nation friendly games.
Last June 1, the team held Southeast Asian Games and AFF Suzuki Cup champion Malaysian Tigers to a scoreless draw at the Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Azkals also settled for a 2-2 draw against the visiting Indonesians at the Rizal Memorial Stadium last June 5.
Guam is ranked number 194 by FIFA (International Federation of Football Association) while the Philippines is ranked number 149.
“We always respect our opponents. No match is won with words. The truth comes out in the football pitch,” said Weiss.
“We will take advantage of our strong offense but we will also focus on our defense,” citing the lapse which allowed Indonesia to score its second goal during their June 5 match. Weiss readily credited the Indons’ brilliant counterattack for their first goal.
The German coach said that the team has grown tremendously since he first handled the Azkals during the 2005 SEA Games here in Panaad but he concedes that there are still many areas to improve in the team’s game in preparation for the Suzuki Cup in November.
Among other event sponsors are ABS-CBN, Smart Communications, Pepsi Cola, Gatorade, Nature's Spring, Kia, SVG Fertiplus, Havainnas and Libresse.
Tickets for the game start at P200, P400, P600 and P1,000. Fans who opt for the P1,000 and P600 tickets are guaranteed with reserved seats at the grandstand.
“The tickets are just enough for the seating capacity of the stadium. We urge Negrense football fans to get your tickets early to ensure you have an available seat and that you don’t run out of tickets during the game itself,” said Lizares.
Tickets are available at Luxur Place, Mushu, Robinsons Place, Sky Cable, Seeds Outlets, Scrubbles at 888 China Town Square, Shakey's Lacson, Café Bobs, ABS CBN and the Provincial Tourism Office.
On game day, June 12, tickets will also be available for sale at Panaad starting 9 a.m.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 11, 2012.