14 June 2012

PFF to assemble elite Azkals roster

MANILA, Philippines - As the Azkals kicked off their build-up for the AFF Suzuki Cup with recent friendlies against Malaysia, Indonesia and Guam, the Philippine Football Federation and team management are going the extra mile to put up a highly prepared, full-strength side to ASEAN’s premier competition in November.
PFF president Nonong Araneta said the federation is prepared to spend for training camps abroad and even for compensation for the European clubs to release their Fil-foreign players to the national team.
“We’re prepared to put up the best team – at whatever cost,” said Araneta, intimating their plans for the Suzuki Cup, where Phl is bent on trying to duplicate or surpass their breakthrough semifinal stint in 2010.
Being a competition that’s not part of the Fifa calendar’s so-called international match days, the PFF and team officials led by manager Dan Palami have to double their efforts to convince the clubs to allow the concerned high-caliber booters to suit up for Phl XI.
“If we make proper representations with their clubs, I think we can (have the players released). We should convince them that if the players will just be sitting on the bench during those time, it would be better for them to release their players and we hope (they will act favorably on our request),” Araneta said.
“If we can compensate for their services, then we’ll do the costing and talk to the clubs,” he added.
The Azkals, though, are also preparing for the possibility that the Europe-based players won’t be around.
“Our intention is for all of the players to be available for the Suzuki Cup. But on one hand, I have instructed the coach to work on the worst-case scenario – that the Europeans might not be available. So the key now is to have more locally-based players in the team and practice as often as we can,” said Palami.
Training camps in neighboring countries like Thailand and Hong Kong and matches against clubs there are being eyed for the Phl-based players in the Azkals pool.
“The locally-based players who might not get exposure in playing against the A team of other countries will get their time, helping them achieve confidence, and the team cohesion and match fitness that we would need prior to the Suzuki Cup. Of course, if and when the European players come, then that would be an added bonus for us,” said Palami.
The last edition of the Suzuki Cup in 2010 served as stepping stone for the Azkals, who shocked the world with a 2-0 upset of then defending champion Vietnam and eventually made the Last 4. From there, the Azkals continued their rise, copping a bronze medal in the AFC Challenge Cup last March.
“We’re already number 3 in Southeast Asia (in terms of world ranking) so we would at least be considered a contender. But I’m sure the other teams are preparing as hard and we should not be sitting on our laurel after our third place finish in the Challenge Cup,” said Palami.
“In fact, we should work hard because this time, when we go to the Suzuki Cup, unlike the last time, we come in as a favorite rather than underdog and they would play differently against us now,” he added.



  1. Observing the plans for the PFF, I had some 5 points so say;

    1. LOCAL PLAYERS ( best selected players nationwide)let those qualified local base players to get their chance to compete in any friendly matches / invitational globally, as a TEAM B aside from the PHILIPPINE AZKALS national team

    2. BUILD A FOOTBALL STADIUM -that qualified base on FIFA standard at least the Philippine had its own Football stadium with at least 60,000 or 75,000 capacity for home and away games. because it will help the other players to play hard and they inspired to do their best for the love of the game and country, the Football stadium should be available within the big cities nationwide ( LUZON, VISAYAS and MINDANAO )

    3. INTER-SUMMER BARANGAY FOOTBALL LEAGUE - as part of the program, to developed and discover any young generations who had a talent and skills in playing football the program should be monitor and supervised by the PFF representatives

    4. OFFER A FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP - in elementary grade level public and private schools ( NATIONWIDE ) and let those student to have a participation / game appearance in any senior football league in our country

    5. SPONSORS - if the sponsor can offer the indoor / outdoor Football field barangay base in cooperation with PFF at least share the budget then it could be possible one of this day we can discover a new talented players

    Its just my opinion , its a suggestions to the concerned people, I've been watching the games of our AZKALS NT, follow their international games, camps and reading their article about the Philippine football Team since 2010 up to now.. the Philippine Football in our country had been grown and develop, the image the fans the high level of playing the interest of the people.. Hopefully...by next FIFA-World cup / Asian cup, we can hear the PHILIPPINE NATIONAL ANTHEM.. thanks to the PFF management and the AZKALS team to make us proud ..

    1. I doubt that we have the money to build as well as maintain a stadium of that size. Ofcourse it would be nice, but given our current economic situation it's just not possible. Furthermore, I would add advancing club football to that list of yours. If the clubs in our country become more and more competitive they will eventually begin to establish football academies in order to develop even more talents. Naturally it would be great if we can then establish more clubs outside of Manila and let them join the UFL. Cebu with QCU and Iloilo with Stallions just isnt enough, we need Ceres, Baguio and other clubs as well to raise awareness of the sport in other cities and the provinces. Once these clubs get better and better and receive enough money from sponsors and competitiond (preferably international ones like the presidents cup or the champions league) then they can start building the stadiums that you want so badly. Either way we are just at the very beginning and prob shouldnt think about qualifying for the world cup for the next 10 years. The 2016 asian cup is far more realistic there.

  2. Nakalimutan mo club system na football.

  3. I won't be too pessimistic (it's more realistic I think) but our NT won't make it to the AFC cup (not to speak of WC) in the near future. The next AFC Championship in Australia (2014) might not be possible even there's still a Challenge Cup to play....but you need so much luck (and of course skill) to win it...it needs still a lot of improvement. we will see where our team stands in the upcoming AFC Suzuki cup. I doubt we can repeat the success in advancing to the Semifinals again. Weare still far from the top contenders. we luckily got a draw in Malaysia just to poor finishing qualities of the Malays and a great Muller in goal. And we even weren't able to beat a makeshift Indonesian team on home turf....and there's still Thailand, Vietnam.....