By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - A pair of overseas training camps with tough friendlies, first in China then in Spain, will highlight the Philippine Azkals’ build-up for the 2016 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup the country is co-hosting in November.
Team manager Dan Palami said a showdown with regular customer North Korea in the Chinese capital on Sept. 2 or 3 is in the offing before the Azkals head to Kyrgyzstan to face the Snow Leopards in an away friendly on Sept. 16.
“We’ll start with a friendly against DPR Korea in Beijing. We’ll be flying to Kyrgyzstan so on the way, instead of just staying over in Beijing as a layover, we’ll do a couple of days training and play a match against North Korea and from there, we go to Kyrgyzstan,” he said.
In October, he said the Azkals are looking to go to Spain and play Canada and Costa Rica.
“We have confirmed our participation and these are being finalized, we’ll have a camp in Spain. According to the organizer there, we’ll be playing against Canada and Costa Rica,” he said.
Palami expects the full team by second week of October.
“We’ll have a full month of preparation (as a full team) which includes a friendly against Kyrgyzstan at home (on Nov. 9),” he said.
The Azkals hope to capitalize on home field advantage in the tourney starting Nov. 19 to achieve a milestone triumph after semis appearances the last three editions.