03 March 2015

Azkals set to train in Bahrain

AS part of their preparations for the World Cup qualifiers set t start in May, the Philippine Azkals will hold a week-long training camp from March 24 to 31 in Bahrain, capped by a friendly against a still undetermined opponent.

“We hope to leave on March 23 and stay there until March 31,” American coach Thomas Dooley said yesterday on the sidelines of the launching of “Small Change Big Change,” a fund-raising campaign for the Azkals at the Luk Foo Restaurant in Quezon City.

Dooley said the Philippine Football Federation would soon notify the national team hopefuls, although he has started speaking individually to some players he wants to bring to the training camp.

National team manager Dan Palami said they are looking for a new squad to face the Azkals in a friendly after China begged off due to previous commitments.

Dooley said they are trying to invite Kuwait, which the Azkals faced for the first time in the World Cup Asian Qualifiers in 2011, for the March 31 friendly in Bahrain “but we still haven’t received word from them.

We should know by tonight.”

He said they are looking at three more national teams that could test the Nationals “but basically we have to ask them one by one so that they don’t get upset when we suddenly withdraw the invitation should more than one team agree.”

Dooley is anxious to get the build-up going since the World Cup qualifiers will also serve as the qualifying competitions for the next Asian Cup.

He said they are looking at new recruits from overseas to beef up their roster but declined to name them until negotiations have been finalized.

Among those keen on wearing the Azkals jersey again, Dooley said, are Fil-Spanish striker Javier Patino, who now plays for a Chinese side, and Fil-British goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, an original member of the national men’s team that reached the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals for the first time five years ago.

Patino was sidelined with a back injury and didn’t play in the 2014 Suzuki Cup while Etheridge had a falling out with Dooley after a so-so outing in the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives last year.

Palami was encouraged by the initiative of Azkal fans to raise money for the national team’s campaign, especially this year during the WC qualifiers.

“This will help me especially in defraying expenses for our trips abroad,” said Palami, a businessman who has personally invested a hefty sum for the Azkals’ overseas stints.

He thanked Puregold, led by owner Lucio Co, and Puregold director Vincent Co in boosting the fund-raiser. 

- See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/sports/azkals-set-train-bahrain#sthash.6BWLjSzN.kSuuFoYv.dpuf


  1. Kuwait going on training camp to Turkey so they are not available.

  2. That's weird. A training camp in Bahrain but want to play Kuwait? lol. Why not try and get Bahrain NT for a friendly in Bahrain? They also only have one scheduled friendly so far, on the 25th.