MANILA, Philippines – After their silver-medal finish in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, the Philippine Azkals are now out to defend their crown in the third edition of the Philippine Peace Cup.
The Azkals have won both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Peace Cup, which was formally created in 2012 to replace the Long Teng Cup.
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) general secretary Ed Gastanes said the Philippine Peace Cup is tentatively scheduled for September 1 to 9 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, which now features an artificial turf.
“The next cup is the Peace Cup, so that’s something that we’re gonna work on,” Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley said.
Gastanes said they may invite Vietnam to participate in the four-nation tournament. Chinese-Taipei, Guam and Macau took part in the 2012 competition, while the 2013 tournament, held in Bacolod, featured Chinese-Taipei and Pakistan.
After the Peace Cup comes the AFF Suzuki Cup, although the draw for that tournament is not until August.
Dooley said he plans to sit down with team manager Dan Palami and the PFF next week to discuss the next steps for the Azkals, with Gastanes adding that they have already received invitations from Vietnam and Uzbekistan for possible friendlies.
Moreover, Dooley is hoping that the team can play some charity games to raise money for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.
“We would like to go on a charity tour, like playing international games for Tacloban, try to raise some money,” said Dooley.
“We’ve already talked to Canada, and it depends on how the United States is doing, maybe we get the chance to play against U.S., and also maybe something in Europe,” he added.
Next year also figures to be a busy one for the Philippine national team, with World Cup and Asian Games qualifying matches falling on FIFA match dates.
“It will be a busy year for football in 2015,” Gastanes said. “With World Cup qualifying matches and the Asian Cup qualifying matches all falling on FIFA match dates, that means we can have our players because the clubs will be compelled to release them.”