By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Turning their preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup a notch, the Philippine Azkals are bracing for a couple of tough friendlies next week, starting with a showdown with Asian powerhouse United Arab Emirates on Saturday at Zayed City Sports Center in Abu Dhabi.
The Azkals arrived in the Middle East Wednesday with only 11 players as the rest of the members of the squad are still tied up with club commitments.
After the match in Abu Dhabi, the Azkals are flying to India to face the national side in Chennai on Nov. 15.
Five players from Global—Jerry Barbaso, Jason de Jong, Amani Aguinaldo, Jeff Christiaens and Marwin Angeles—will only join the camp tomorrow, following the Singapore Cup third place playoff that was scheduled last night, while Jerry Lucena, Rob Gier, Ray Jonsson and Juani Guirado will be flying in from Europe.
“It’s just important for the players to have more playing time together because we haven’t had a lot of matches this year,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami.