16 August 2012

Azkals-Virgin Islands friendly called off

A Philippine side determined to be in the best possible form in the Suzuki Cup late this year lost a chance to test US Virgin Islands in an international friendly on Friday after the match was called off by the United States Soccer Federation.

The USSF, which has jurisdiction over the match since it was going to be held in its territory, decided to scratch the Philippines-US Virgin Islands game in Indianapolis from its fixture list since the USVI could not make it to Indianapolis within 24 hours before the match—a requirement for international matches.

While they rued the opportunity of not being able to have some time together on the pitch, the Azkals took the cancellation in stride, sticking to the positives of what they described as a successful training camp here so far.

“It was an opportunity to implement what we learned in training, but that doesn’t take away the positives from the camp,” said defender Jason Sabio. “We’ve been able to play a team of players that have not played together and developed a bond on and off the field.”

It’s been a good test especially for the non-first eleven players,” said Azkals co-skipper Aly Borromeo.

Without the showdown against the USVI, Azkals manager Dan Palami said they are now looking at the possibility of facing other Chicago-based clubs for scrimmages to help sharpen the Azkals, who have been in intense twice-a-day sessions to sustain their buildup, before they fly home on Aug. 19.

“We will still continue with training camp and get in shape, which is really the objectives of this camp,” said Palami. “It’s only one match less and we can still compensate by working harder in training.”

“We don’t want to dwell on the reasons on why USVI couldn’t come. We would rather focus on training,” Palami added.

The USVI was also supposed to play the Chicago Inferno Tuesday. While there has been no official word from the promoters of the Philippines-USVI match on the reasons that forced USSF to cancel the game, it appeared that USVI was having problems booking flights to and from Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Azkals’ friendly against Indonesia in September has also been called off, after Philippine and Indonesian football officials could not agree on the date of the match, a report on the Asean Football Federation website said.

The Azkals wanted to play the Indonesians on Sept. 15 but the 2010 Suzuki Cup finalists were already booked to play Vietnam on that date.


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