31 May 2014

Chance for new Malditas discoveries as PFF launches maiden Women's Cup

By Karlo Sacamos
UNDERLINING the need for exposure and high-level competition for local lady booters, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) launched the PFF Women’s Cup which kicks off next month at the Turf BGC in Taguig.
With the UAAP limited to school-based teams, the country’s governing body for the sport decided to establish a bigger platform where club teams can also participate, thus the creation of the invitational 9-a-side tournament that will be played on weekends and run for two months, starting June 8.
“We see the potential of our women players and this avenue of high-pressure football will help them,” PFF general secretary Edwin Gastanes said on Friday.
Some players in the Malditas pool are expected to participate in the tournament where national team members will be scattered among the 10 teams taking part.
Malditas coach Ernie Nierras, who acts as league commissioner, will also have a chance to scout new talent for the team.
“This is an avenue for our national team players not only to compete in, but to be selected,” Nierras said.
Defending UAAP champion Far Eastern University fields an almost intact lineup, but is bracing for tough competition in Group A, where the Lady Tamaraws will be up against club teams Green Archers United, Sikat FC, Chelsea, and Mendiola FC.
2013 Pinay Football titlist University of Santo Tomas heads the cast in Group B, which also has school-based squads College of St. Benilde, University of the Philippines, and Ateneo, along with club team Loyola Meralco,
The maiden edition of the event follows a single-round format with the top two teams advancing to the crossover semifinals.
The competition will be played in 25-minute halves, with the 9-a-side setup perfect for the ladies, according to Nierras.
“Their technical skills will be enhanced because they will have more touches.”



Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Roy O’Donovan’s hat-trick helped Brunei DPMM to a 7-0 thumping of Global FC in their RHB Singapore Cup tie at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday evening as they qualified for the quarter-finals in style.
Also getting onto the scoresheet were Rodrigo Tosi who grabbed a brace, as well as substitutes Shahrazen Said and Azwan Saleh as Global’s run in the competition came to a premature end.  
Weakened by the absence of players away on international duty with Philippines, the Global defence found it hard to contain a deadly DPMM strikeforce comprising Tosi and O’Donovan. 
DPMM on the other hand were missing Roberto Alviz who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury as captain Rosmin Kamis started on the bench with Joe Gamble and Hendra Azam starting in the heart of midfield.
The opening exchanges saw the two teams cancel each other out and chances were at a premium as the first chance of note came after only 31 minutes.
It was O’Donovan who sent a looping header over from Helmi Zambin’s cross before Boris Raspudic headed wide off Hendra’s corner delivery minutes later. 
O’Donovan then should have scored to put his side ahead on 39 minutes but could only fire straight at Jose Pascual after latching onto Tosi’s through pass.     
The restart saw Global come out of the break strongly as they fashioned two decent chances in the space of two minutes through Mark Hartmann although none found the net.
However, it did not take long for the deadlock to be broken as it did in the 58th minute when an unmarked Tosi headed Sairol Sahari’s deep cross past a rooted Pascual with the floodgates opening thereafter.
O’Donovan doubled the lead for the designated visitors a minute later after he was sent racing clear, lifting the ball beyond the onrushing Pascual.
It was then three goals to the good for the Wasps when Tosi netted with another header for his second of the night on 71 minutes before a defensive mix-up seven minutes later saw O’Donovan bulge the net again to make it 4-0.
The misery was not over for Leigh Manson’s side though, as there was still time for more goals.
Azwan’s low shot was deflected into the bottom corner on 80 minutes and O’Donovan then completed his hat-trick at the end of regulation time, leaving a defender in his wake before calmly slotting past Pascual.
The scoring was completed in stoppage time when Shahrazen fired past Pascual from 20 yards to cap off an impressive second-half performance from DPMM who will join the likes of defending champions Home United and Tampines Rovers in the last eight of the Singapore Cup.


Davao Football - PSC-DFA Challenge Cup opens

Saturday, May 31, 2014

FOUR division A teams of Davao City will battle for honors in the first
 Philippine Sports Commission-Davao Football Association (PDC-DFA) 
Challenge Cup 2014 that kicks off today at the Tionko field.
The Philippine College of Technology (PCT)-Medvil Football Club,
 Hooligans FC, Kilusang Magkaibigan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KMMPC) FC 
and Columbia FC are entered in the double round-robin bootfest that will be
 played every Sunday until July.
PCT-Medvilcollideswtih Columbia FC at 2 p.m. while Hooligans clashes 
against  KMMPC at 4 p.m.
PCT-Medvil coach Ramonito “Lalas” Carreon, in text messages to Sun.Star
 Davao,  said they will try their best to capture the title, “Very crucial ang 
games kaykusogtanankalaban, (Games will be crucial since teams are
 strong forcesto reckon with)."
Carreon said they hold a 50 percent chance of winning but added they will 
exert 100 percent effort to put up a stiff competition.
If the top team after the games will have a three-point lead and more 
from the second-placer, it will be declared champion. Otherwise, 
a championship game will be held with the top squad having a 
twice-to-beat advantage.
The champion will represent Davao City to the Davao Region Smar
 Interclub set in August. (MDC/MLSA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 01, 2014.

Singapore Cup : Global Fc 0-7 DPMM Fc

Global Fc lost 0-7 to DPMM Fc from Brunei  in Singapore Cup today.

Half time result was 0-0

GLOBAL XI vs Brunei DPMM FC: Pascual, Rodriguez, Martinez, Pettys, Barbaso, Hoshide, Christiaens, Guirado, Bahadoran, Dizon, Hartmann

YouTube : Final - Palestine vs Philippines: AFC Challenge Cup 2014 (highlights)

Philippines has a bright future declares Dooley

Male: Coach Thomas Dooley believes the Philippines have a bright future despite Friday's heartbreaking AFC Challenge Cup final defeat by Palestine.
The Philippines, who finished third at the previous edition in 2012, had progressed to their first AFC Challenge Cup final with an unbeaten record only to 1-0 to Palestine at the National Stadium.
But despite the Philippines seeing their hopes of a first-ever appearance at the AFC Asian Cup dashed following the defeat, Dooley is confident of continued progress from the two-time AFF Championship semi-finalists.
"My task was to win the Challenge Cup and I didn't," said Dooley, who was appointed in February.
"But on the other hand, I was trying to build something with the team and I think we did a pretty good job through to the final, so I think this team has a bright future. If we continue to work hard and find more young players, I think we will have a great future."
Third-choice goalkeeper Patrick Deyto was the only player not used by Dooley in the five games, with teenagers Kenshiro Daniels, Amani Aguinaldo and Daisuke Sato as well as 20-year-old OJ Porteria all gaining valuable experience during the tournament.
"The young players are the future, so we have to find players and we have to develop the players," added Dooley.
"Sato is 19 years old, Amani is 19 years old, and OJ and Ken who came in, they have a future in the national team. It doesn't mean we want to kick the old players out, but maybe the pace of the game will be better and it is good to have a young average age, especially with young players who can develop."
Palestine striker Ashraf Al Fawaghra scored the only goal of the final with a free-kick a minute before the hour mark, with the Philippines unable to find a response after 2012 AFC Challenge Cup top scorer Phil Younghusband missed their best chance four minutes before half-time.
"It was a tough game. The boys played hard and played good and I am proud of everyone who was in the team who played at this tournament," said Dooley.
"We had a good tournament; we just didn't get the final result we were looking for.
"Palestine have a great team and nobody scored against them. We tried to, and we were close a couple of times, but it didn't work out.
"But overall, I am happy with the way they team played at this tournament."



Global FC (PHI) vs Brunei DPMM
(May 31, Saturday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
A tantalising clash is set to await spectators at Jalan Besar as the two sides at the top of their respective leagues meet in the preliminary rounds of the 2014 RHB Singapore Cup.

Seven points clear of their nearest opponents in Philippines’ top-flight league, Global are well poised to claim the United Football League title with five games to go.
Brunei DPMM are doing well in the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League too, as they currently are perched above the likes of Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers.
Things could be tough for the Bruneian side though, as they come in to this game on the back of a demoralising 1-0 defeat by fellow title-challengers Warriors FC.
On the other hand, Global last tasted defeat in February, at the hands of Kaya in their own domestic league. Since then, they have gone a nine-game unbeaten run, while scoring an astonishing 43 goals along the way.
Though Global have been scoring freely, it is improbable they will have it as easy against DPMM as they do to their domestic counterparts.
DPMM currently have the meanest defence in the league, with only seven goals conceded so far. Marshalled by the ever-dependable Boris Raspudic, Global’s frontline will have a tough time breaking through their opponents’ defence.
Global was involved in the tournament last year as well, and had a good run till the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual runner-ups Tanjong Pagar.
However, their hopes of going on a similar good run this year will have taken a beating, as they will be missing several key players.
Amani Aguinaldo, Jason De Jong, Daisuke Sato have all reported for international duty with Philippines due to the AFC Challenge Cup final against Palestine on 30 May in Maldives, with the winner qualifying for the 2015 Australia Asian Cup
While Global did triumphed over DPMM last year en-route to the semi-finals, they are now missing Carli De Murga and Rufino Sanchez who both scored against the Bruneian side in the quarter finals last year to propel the Filipino side past DPMM after a two-legged 5-4 aggregate win.

Global FC’s Squad for 2014 RHB Singapore Cup
Goalkeepers: Florencio Badelic Jr., Paolo Pascual.
Defenders: Amani Aguinaldo, Jerry Barbaso, Jeffrey Christaens, Neil Bacolod Dorimon, Nino Ochotorena, Charles Pettys, German Rodriguez (Mexico), Richard Pitogo Talaro Jr.
Midfielders: Aaron Altiche, Misagh Bahadoran, Jason De Jong, Curt Dizon, Yu Hoshide (Japan), John Kanayama, Raul Martinez (Mexico), John Regis, Daisuke Sato.
Forwards: Angel Guirado, Mark Hartmann, Hardy Pinto Moreira (Portugal), Reuben Raya Rivera Silitonga, Izzeldin Elzaki Ibrahim Elhabib (Sudan)


Azkals fall short of goal after sorry loss to Palestine in AFC Challenge Cup final

By Karlo Sacamos

THE Philippines’ cherished dream remained just that: a dream.
The Azkals fell short of reaching the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup after bowing to Palestine, 0-1, in the AFC Challenge Cup final early Saturday at the National Stadium in Maldives, Male.
A stunning second-half free kick from Ashraf Alfawaghra proved to be the difference and sent the Filipinos into misery.
The Palestinians thus brought some good news to their war-torn nation after booking the last ticket to the Asian Cup where they will be up against quality teams Japan, Jordan, and Iraq, among others.
Overall, it was still a remarkable finish for the Azkals, who reached a final of a major tournament for the first time in history.
The Palestinians dominated possession in the first half where they created at least four clear-cut chances that were just denied by standout Filipino goalkeeper Roland Muller.
Muller, however, failed to save Alfawaghra’s free kick that went into the upper-left corner, awarded to Palestine after Jason de Jong committed a foul in the 58th minute.
The Azkals conjured their own attempts, including their best chance four minutes before stoppage time when Phil Younghusband escaped his defender, took the goalkeeper one on one, but fired his shot over the bar.
Searching for that equalizer, Daisuke Sato attempted a long-range missile that was just saved by the Palestinian goalkeeper a few minute before second-half injury time.


30 May 2014

YouTube : FINAL: Palestine vs Philippines: AFC Challenge Cup 2014 (full match)

AFC Challenge Cup final : Philippines 0-1 Palestine

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AFC Challenge Cup final in Maldives

Philippines vs Palestine

Start : 9 pm Maldives , 5 pm London , Midnight Philippines

Tv : ABS CBN Sports and Action from 11.30 pm

Livescore : www.futbol24.com

Official Livestream : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3BbUDklH-A (not available in Middle East , Germany and PH)

alternative :  http://www.vnews.mv/vtv 


The winner of AFC Challenge Cup will play in Group D in Asian Cup 2015 against Japan (Jan 12) , Jordan (Jan 16) and Iraq (Jan 20).

Injured players : Juani Guirado, Neil Etheridge and  Ruben Doctora Jr are not expected to play.

Nursing injuries : Daisuke Sato and Stephan Schröck are nursing injuries but are expected to play

Azkals Starting XI v Palestine: Gier, Sato, De Jong, Aguinaldo, P. Younghusband, Reichelt, Schrock, Rota, Steuble, Mulders & Muller

45 mins Schrock out , Lucena in

57 mins 1-0 Alfawaghra ,Palestine

Mulders out , Porteria in
Rota out , Daniels in
1-0 FT

29 May 2014

AFC Challenge Cup finals: Win or bust for Azkals


MALE, Maldives—All or nothing. Win or bust.
For a Philippine side looking to make its dream a reality, it all boils down to one last game in the AFC Challenge Cup here Friday.

Their resolve strengthened by a dramatic semifinal win over the host country, the Azkals seek to rewrite history when they face Palestine in a final that offers compelling storylines for both nations.

What was a long shot four years ago when the team rose to prominence with their victory in Vietnam is now a whisker away for the Azkals, who came here with the belief that their time has come to win this competition for Asia’s emerging football nations.

“There’s no doubt this is our biggest ever, our biggest opportunity,” said skipper Rob Gier. “But we’re not really trying to focus too much on the history side of things. We just want to focus on the game.”

Although the atmosphere won’t be as hostile as in the 3-2 extra time win over the Maldives in the semifinals Tuesday night, the Azkals expect a dogfight just the same with the Palestinians also looking to bring home the title to lift their country’s spirits.

It’s been a long and arduous journey for the Azkals, who endured heartaches after losing in the semifinals of major tournaments three times.

They want to seize the moment this time.

“The boys are ready to play and make the country proud,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “It’s the culmination of our journey and we hope and pray it ends up with us being victorious.”

Palestine came into the tournament as one of its lower-ranked teams based on the Fifa tally, but it has hardly played like one, winning three of its four matches without conceding a goal. The team also carries the hope of a nation seeking a lift due to its country’s political situation.

“I hope to win but it’s a hard match,” Palestine coach Jamal Mahmoud told Filipino reporters Thursday.
“It’s very big for  us because you know Palestinian is in occupation and we want to bring good news to the country that we have a team that they can be proud of.”

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/154362/afc-challenge-cup-finals-win-or-bust-for-azkals#ixzz337uTzk00

Schrock: I’ll play through injury


MALE, Maldives—Still hobbled by pain in his right hamstring, Filipino-German midfielder Stephan Schrock isn’t about to miss the biggest game in the history of Philippine football.

The Azkals have managed to reach the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup, even with Schrock hurting since the group stage.

Determined to contribute, Schrock said the injury will not stop him from seeing action in the duel against Palestine Friday night at National Stadium here.

“I’d have to be dead to not play,” said Schrock, who is coming off a long season with German Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.

Schrock was substituted in matches against Laos and Turkmenistan, which ended in 2-0 wins. Although he felt ready to start in the 3-2 semifinal win over the Maldives, coach Thomas Dooley opted to let him come off the bench in the second half.

“I was on 40 or 50 percent at best (against the Maldives),” Schrock told the Inquirer. “During the warmup I felt good but after the first touch, I felt pain right away.”

Also hurting is Daisuke Sato, who is nursing a minor Achilles injury.

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/154357/schrock-ill-play-through-injury#ixzz337tzU7Dt

Singapore Cup : Global Fc and Loyola to Singapore

Global Fc is in Singapore preparing for Singapore Cup.

They are facing DPMM FC from Brunei on Saturday.

Loyola Meralco Sparks is also going to Singapore , they are playing Laos club SHB Champasak on Sunday.

Both matches at 7.30 pm in Jalan Besar Stadium.

Philippines playing Palestine on Friday and Global will probably miss Sato , Aguinaldo and De Jong.

Unknown if Younghusbands and Simon Greatwich will be going to Singapore after AFC Challenge Cup final

UFL Div 2 - Today - Updated

1Ceres 19    48
2Airforce fc21    44
3Manila Jeepney FC20    43
4Laos20   36
5Manila All-Japan19       32
6Forza20    30
7Nomads21    30
8Union Internacional Manila21    25
9Agila  20   23
10Navy20   21
11Dolphins United20  13
12Cimarron19   4

5.15 pm Agila Fc vs Laos fc

FT-Agila FC 1-4 Laos FC Goal scorers: Ariel Cahilig 16' Rezziel Villaespin 25' Rolly Lear 56' Mehdi Soltani 86' Olayemi Bakare 77' -Agila

7.30 pm Air Force Fc vs Nomads

FT-Nomads FC 1-3 Phil.Air Force FC Goal scorers: Nomads- Loic Toullec 7' PAF- Neil Lirio 49' Antonio Albor 64' Neckson Leonora 90'

Veteran Chris Greatwich delivers memorable goal anew


MALE, MALDIVES—Scrappy as it may look, chalk this one to the collection of the Philippines’ greatest goals in international football.
And the scorer, Chris Greatwich, isn’t exactly a stranger to important goals for the country.
The 30-year-old Greatwich, who is celebrating a decade of playing for the Azkals late this year, again provided the late heroics when he smashed home Patrick Reichelt’s pass in the 104th minute, lifting the Philippines to a 3-2 extra time win over the Maldives in the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup at National Stadium here.
“The goal was all a bit of a blur really,” said Greatwich. “I wasn’t sure if Patrick’s shot was going wide so I just had to stick it in just in case. Just really happy we only had to hold on 15 minutes until the end and reach the finals.”
The goal from close range sent fans into ruptures not just the Filipino gallery in the stadium, but those who stayed up to the wee hours of Wednesday morning in Manila to witness the late drama on television.
Greatwich was the same player who rescued the Azkals from the brink of defeat against Singapore in the AFF Suzuki Cup four years ago, before scoring the first goal in the historic 2-0 win over then defending champion Vietnam—a victory that led to a first semifinal appearance in the tournament.
It was the tournament that catapulted the Azkals to stardom after long years of playing with little fanfare.
“Perhaps Vietnam had more impact in terms of where Philippine football was, but from a tournament perspective, it is the most important one,” said Greatwich.
The Filipino-British midfielder came in as a halftime substitute for Jerry Lucena, who actually put the Azkals on top with a close-range strike to make it 2-1.
Greatwich was on the bench for a couple of matches after suffering an eye injury in the opening minutes of the Afghanistan game last May 20.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to play you just have to be mentally ready,” said Greatwich.

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/154288/veteran-chris-greatwich-delivers-memorable-goal-anew#ixzz335PNTm3D

PFF Smart National Club Championship - Local qualifiers Davao del Norte

Preliminary Round (April 20- May 17, 2014)

Team Standings             MP W    D    L   GF    GA     GD     PTS
UM TAGUM FC                4   4     0    0    18     3      15     12
PNP DDN FC                   4    2     0    2   19     10      9      6
TCPU FC                       4    2     0    2     7      8       -1     6
MADAUM FC                   4    1     0    3     6     17     -11    3
WARDEN COQUILLA FC     4     1     0   3     5     17     -12    3

Semifinals (May 18, 2014)

2:00 PM  PNP DDN  FC 6 - 0 TCPU FC

FINALS (May 25, 2014)

3:00 PM   UM TAGUM FC  2-2  PNP DDN FC

14 mins Manuel Aspellaga Jr, PNP DDN FC

74 mins Keem Lloyd Paulinio , UM Tagum FC
93 mins Heinrich Betio , PNP DDN FC
94 mins Raymund Punayan, UM Tagum Fc

UM Tagum FC won 4-2 on PK's

UM Tagum FC will represent Davao del Norte FA for the Regional Qualifiers slated in August 2014.

Thanks to Renato Cosmod , Davao Del Norte FA

We want to play in Asian Cup says Dooley

Male’, MALDIVES – Philippines coach Thomas Dooley has said that they want to play in the next level of football and which is the Asian Cup and want to play against those big teams.
Dooley’s Azkals is one step behind the Asian Cup and they need to win the final of AFC Challenge cup against Palestine next Friday to confirm a place in their maiden Asian Cup.
“We want to play at the next level that is not a secret. We came over here to win the Challenge Cup. We want to play at the next level which is the Asian Cup so we want to play against those big guys, not to win something, but to play with them and that is our biggest goal,”
Dooley also said that the next game in the competition is very important for the Azkals and it will write a new history.
“When you play and believe in it you will be successful so that’s why we are going step-by-step. And right now the biggest thing we can do is write a new history in the next game so we want to prepare the team to write history.
“It was a great match, but not for us on the bench. But overall we were hungry for this victory. In the end I am very pleased with how the team played against their great players who are always dangerous. Overall, I think that we deserved to win. We had great chances in the first half but we did not put them away.
He also added that his team is doing better and better.
“We have had eight games and lost only one so far and the team is getting better and better. As the tournament goes on you are getting more tired and making more mistakes, but in terms of unity, the team has grown in the 10 days here. It is something we work on every day and the team is ready to fight against anything and to make the people proud.”
Maldives coach Drago Mamic said that he is very proud for what the players showed against Philippines.
“I told the players after the game that they are my heroes and I am proud of them and the whole country must be proud for what these boys showed today,”
“Both teams should have won today if this can exist in the rules. But unfortunately the rules are very clear that who scores more goals will be the winner and that is why this time the Philippines scored three and we scored two and my congratulations to the Philippines as they scored more goals.”
Maldives will play against Afghanistan in the 3rd place play off tomorrow.
- See more at: http://www.maldivesoccer.com/s/We-want-to-play-in-Asian-Cup-says-Dooley-5458#sthash.LcgsKlPJ.dpuf


28 May 2014

UFL President Randy Roxas praises local-based after Azkals Challenge Cup semis win


Following the Philippine national men’s football team’s victory over the hometown Maldives side in the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup, United Football League (UFL) president Randy Roxas lauded the team for its entry into the finals and praised the contribution of the UFL’s finest players in achieving it.
“The entire UFL organization is elated with the Philippine national team’s historic semifinal win against Maldives last night. We are especially proud of our (UFL) boys for they have shown that they can compete at a high level and can contribute just as much as the team’s foreign-based players,” Roxas said.
UFL standouts comprise a majority of the Azkals’ squad and have provided a strong core for head coach Thomas Dooley. The team has scored a total of seven goals in four matches, with six of them coming from players who ply their trade in the UFL – including veteran Chris Greatwich’s winning goal in extra time of the Azkals’ 3-2 semifinal victory.
“Our passage to the final goes to show that when sports bodies come together and work for the common good of the sport then objectives for the national interest can be met,” said Roxas.
The UFL and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) have enjoyed a close relationship and it showed last February, when UFL club owners agreed to adjust the league’s schedule to allow for the Azkals’ preparations for the Challenge Cup.
“We will continue to pray for the success of the team. They’ve made it to the finals and are one victory away from joining the elite Asian footballing countries in the Asian Cup, which is to be held in Australia next year,” Roxas added.
“We will continue to work with the PFF in sustaining the growth of football in our country.”
The Azkals will play Palestine for the Challenge Cup title on Saturday, 12 midnight, with the winner also clinching a spot in the prestigious Asian Cup in 2015.

Fil-German keeps faith, hope of Phl side

By Olmin Leyba
MALE – Two penalty saves in two big games and Roland Muller has clearly shown who’s the boss in between the sticks.
“We maybe have the best keeper in the tournament,” said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley, referring to his star custodian who played a key role in their 3-2 verdict over Maldives in the semis of the AFC Challenge Cup and an earlier 2-0 victory over Turkmenistan in group play.
“You can see he has some great saves, got another penalty today. And I’m not actually afraid of a penalty shot because of the goal keeper. He is a real football player, great timing, so I’m very pleased with him,” he added.
Muller actually didn’t play in the opening game against Afghanistan, a 0-0 stalemate, as first choice keeper Neil Etheridge took the job.
“I respect the coaches’ decision and I knew my time would come. And I’m always ready when the team needs me,” said the Fil-German.
Muller got to take the place of injured Etheridge and didn’t disappoint. His back-to-back penalty saves make a new high for the keeper who traces his roots from Mindoro.
“It’s really luck but it makes me happy I saved two penalties. Yeah, I decided to go one corner based on gut feel and luck was on my side,” he said.
Dooley had said once that Muller won the game for the Azkals but the keeper declined to take credit.
“It contributed to the victory but it’s a team effort,” he said.

Move to recruit more Azkals pushed

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.

27 May 2014

PH Azkals plan to strengthen lineup if they gain Asian Cup


MALE, Maldives—Two wins away from reaching their Asian Cup dream, the Philippine Azkals feel they have achieved a “balance” in the lineup with both Manila-based players and Europe-born stars combining brilliantly in their bid for success.

But that won’t stop Azkals manager Dan Palami from further beefing up the side, especially if the team goes all the way to the Asian Cup in Australia in January.

The Azkals were slated to face host Maldives last night in the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup here with a victory putting them one step closer to the title and a spot in the Asian Cup.

“A lot of the plans this year will depend on how we fare here,” said Palami. “But we will have to expand even further our scouting activities just to check if there are still (overseas-born) Filipinos interested in the team.
“There were several players who expressed interest in this tournament that did not make it in time.”

The Azkals manager, who has been bankrolling the side since 2010, expressed satisfaction over what he felt was a “balance” in the quality of play being displayed by the squad, whose players come from different parts of the world.
“I think we have found that balance,” said Palami, stressing that seven Philippines-based players started in the 2-0 win over Turkmenistan in their last Group B game Saturday night.

Two of the players who started in the match are 19-year-olds Amani Aguinaldo, a central defender, and Daisuke Sato, a leftback, who both play for Global in the United Football League.

Coach Thomas Dooley heaped praises on the defensive duo who are playing in their first international tournament for the national team.

“It wasn’t a surprise for me how good they were,” said Dooley. “Amani is, maybe, one of the best centerbacks we have. For me, it was important to have somebody to be kind of killer at the back and he’s fast and strong.”
Dooley said Sato, who was part of the Urawa Reds Youth team in Japan, is an “incredible player for his age.”
“He plays like an experienced player and shows how much knowledge he has about the game, Dooley said, referring to Sato, who has started ahead of the veteran Dennis Cagara.

Improving the squad will always be a priority for Palami, who is already looking at camps abroad regardless of the result here.

“The Asian Cup is a different thing altogether,” said Palami. “But everything we do will always be geared towards having a successful team.”

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/154178/ph-azkals-plan-to-strengthen-lineup-if-they-gain-asian-cup#ixzz32xFpwzbo
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