By Olmin Leyba
MALE’ – Looking forward to bigger forays in the future, the Philippine Azkals will continue scouting for talents all over the world and widening the pool for the national team.
“We’ll have to expand even further our scouting activities just to check whether there are still Filipinos out there,” said team manager Dan Palami.
The Azkals were gunning for a finals berth in the AFC Challenge Cup against host Maldives at presstime. Their ultimate objective is to win the Challenge Cup and make a historic qualification to the prestigious AFC Asian Cup next year.
The Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup later in the year is also in the Azkals’ slate.
Palami, though, declined to name the prospective recruits from overseas yet.
Although the big guns from Europe play key roles in the team, Palami noted that they are gradually achieving balance between local-based mainstays and their counterparts from abroad.
“It’s getting there,” Palami said, noting that seven Phl-based players had actually seen action in the crucial group match against Turkmenistan last Saturday.
“Of course we need to find balance between local-based and whoever’s coming over. It’s always been a difficult process and everybody knows that eveything we’re doing will always be geared towards being a successful team,” he said.
According to Palami, the broad plan is to put up a strong pool in Phl and bring in the Fil-Europeans or hold more overseas training with the latter.
“That’s what the coach and I will have to talk about. Do we try to create a strong team based in Manila and just see who among the players outside can reinforce it or do we send them most of the time outside doing camps, getting everybody together? Those are the things we’ll decide upon after the Challenge Cup,” he said.