22 August 2012

Azkals get a new chance to size up Singaporeans


CEBUANO football fans will finally see the Philippine Azkals up close when the national team takes on the Singapore Lions for the third time in three years in an international friendly set on Nov. 16 at the Cebu City Sports Center football field in Cebu City.
“Singapore has confirmed to play the Azkals on Nov. 16 and it will be in Cebu City,” Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta Jr. said yesterday, adding the match will be the last tune-up game of the Filipino booters before they swing into action in the AFF Suzuki Cup in late November.
It will mark the first time the national squad, which recently arrived from a two-week training camp in the United States, will play an international match outside of Iloilo, Bacolod and Manila. The match will be the first to be held in the Central Visayan province.
“The field (at the Cebu Sports Center) is at its best condition in years and if it needs rehabilitation, the Cebu Football Association under its new president, Ricky Dakay, is willing to spend for it,” Sun Star-Cebu sports editor Mike Limpag, an avid soccer enthusiast, said yesterday.
The game will be a rubber and grudge match between the two Southeast Asian squads, which have gone in opposite directions in the FIFA world ratings since they last met a year ago.
The Filipinos have risen to No. 150 in the latest world rankings while the Singaporeans have dipped 12 rungs lower at No. 162.
In an upset of sorts, the Azkals drew with the highly-fancied Tigers 1-1 on Chris Greatwich’s last-gasp second-half injury time header in the 2010 Suzuki Cup Group stage eliminations in Hanoi, a result that served as the springboard to their surprise semis finish in the event.
But Singapore avenged that defeat with a 0-2 drubbing of the Philippines in an international friendly played on its home turf last October.
The Azkals are in Group A of this year’s Suzuki Cup while the Tigers are in Group B.
Limited to just one game in their recent two-week training stint in the US, the Azkals will have a busy September, opening with a three-match friendly series on Sept. 5, 7 and 9 against Cambodia, Singapore and Laos in their respective capitals.
“The Azkals play Cambodia in Phnom Penh, then Singapore in Singapore, before winding up against Laos in Vientiane,” Araneta said.
After a two-week respite, the Nationals will see action in the four-nation Paulino Alcantara Cup in Bacolod, a tourney named after the Filipino mestizo striker who saw action for Spanish powerhouse Barcelona in the early 1900s, from Sept. 25 to 29.
They play Guam on Sept. 25, Macau on Sept. 27, before facing Chinese-Taipei on the last day of the event on Sept. 29.
October will see the Azkals continuing their build-up in the Middle East, highlighted by a friendly against Bahrain in the country’s capital of Manama on Oct. 12.
“I am still arranging for another Middle East national team to play the Philippines during their training camp there,” Araneta said.


  1. Why Lions suddenly turn into Tigers ? lol

    BTW, what i find interesting is, after the Vietnam upset, Azkals have had NO WIN at opponents' home (4 draws, 5 losses), and NO WIN against South East Asian neighbors on whatever field (5 draws, 3 losses). Well upcoming Cambodia-Singapore-Laos tour will be a series of high chance to break both winless streaks though.

  2. Funny how they never win after foreign training trips for 'cohesion and bonding'.
    Is there a lesson to be learned here?

  3. ..and more, how they "WON" ? the NT azkals main players are not complete during the camp no "serious commitment of the NT, and what do we expect ? of course we expect the next options, the homegrown base players that are not much competent and lack of international playing experience, just face the reality, AZKALS will not be and can not be strong team if without the support of our "FIL-FORS" players... recently, look at the US camps? the playing performance, without the help of our 'FEL-FORS" ? not to mentioned the "name names" of the main attraction of the AZKALS National team ? even the low attendance of the audience is lack of interest because some of the AZKAL superstars are not available during the friendly game...wake up and look the REALITY ....and do you think this is the start preparations for the up-coming SUZUKI Cup 2012 ????

  4. So why waste development money on these not much competent players embarrassing themselves in foreign countries? And why do these Azkal superstars find it hard to beat even the weakest teams?

    The lesson is it's far cheaper and far more sensible to do all their training on home pitches and in a home climate similar to what they're going to find in 99% of their matches.

  5. Kulang ka lang sa Pansin Mr. "Anonymous24 August 2012 09:15"

    Umaangat pa lang ang team nang Pilipinas sa Football. Struggling pa din when it comes to Fil-Foreign players schedules. Ang laki naman nang expectations mo. Tingnan mo na lang ang resulta nang development sa bansa natin nang football dahil na din sa hype nang NT natin.

    Di naman kailangang panalo, kung Vietnam nga natalo sa atin sa Suzuki cup...Kung ang Smart-Gilas 4-0 ay tinambakan nang Lebanon sa Jone's Cup. Di tayo superpower sa football pero nagkakaroon tayo nang improvement. Look forward and not on the hind sight.

  6. I hope that Mr. Araneta would read this, how about Saudi Arabia. Ang dami pong Pinoy dito. Excited manood nang football ang mga Pinoys dito against Saudi Arabia.
    Sigurado ako pag-uusapan ang game na yan dito.