By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals will field in a full-bodied pack against rivals from Chinese Taipei and Pakistan in the second Philippine Football Peace Cup on Oct. 11-15 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Fil-German Stephan Schrock of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, Fil-British Neil Etheridge of Fulham FC, and Jerry Lucena from Esbjerg fB, Fil-British Rob Gier and Fil-Spanish Juani Guirado will beef up the Azkals as they seek to rule the tourney for a second time.
The Europe-based booters will join Paul Mulders and Angel Guirado, who are fresh from their stint with Global FC in Singapore, as well as Patrick Reichelt of Thai Club Singhtarua and veterans Chieffy Caligdong and Phil and James Younghusband in the 22-man roster called up by coach Michael Weiss.
Completing the team are Philippine-based stalwarts Marwin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Jerry Barbaso, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason de Jong, Patrick Deyto, Chris Greatwich, Mark Hartmann, OJ Porteria and Edward Sacapano.
The Azkals (141st in the world) will face off with the Taiwanese (175th) on Oct. 11 then meet Pakistanis (170th) on Oct. 15, seeking to emerge on top at the end of hostilities.
According to Philippine Football Federation general secretary Ed Gastanes, the Peace Cup will kickstart the Azkals’ preparations for their mission in the AFC Challenge Cup Maldives 2014 Finals.
“We welcome both Chinese Taipei and Pakistan and we look forward to competitive matches with them,” Gastanes said.
After the Peace Cup, the Azkals will play international friendlies against United Arab Emirates (82) in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 9 and against India (155) in India on Nov. 15.
Gastanes added that the three-nation tourney is in line with the country’s peace efforts.
“The Peace Cup is football’s contribution to help highlight every Filipino’s desire for peace, especially in Mindanao conflict areas. Football values of fair play and respect are aligned with the ongoing peace process,” Gastanes said.