Monday, 7 February 2011

Mongolia here for Azkals match

Posted by chardyboy on Monday, February 07, 2011 0 comments

source: By Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Mongolia is due to arrive today in Bacolod City, probably the first time the Philippine Azkals can sort of size up the opponent they hardly saw or knew.

“I myself don’t have an idea about them (Mongolia), except that we’re ranked higher than them and that they lost to Guam previously,” said veteran forward Ian Araneta in a radio interview yesterday.

The Mongolians have apparently been inactive, their last international tournament being the AFC Challenge Cup qualifier against Macau back in 2009. Ranked 182nd against the Philippines’ 152nd, the visiting booters also had the shameful reputation of losing to Guam, one of the world’s weakest football nations, 0-1, in 2009.

Other than this, the Azkals hope they also could get scouting reports from the Mongolians’ stint in Guangzhou, China, where they trained in and played four matches in preparation for the opener of their AFC Challenge Cup tie with the hosts.

But one thing going for the Azkals, team manager Dan Palami offered, is the likelihood that the Mongolians might not have sufficient training for Wednesday’s match set at the Panaad Stadium.

“It’s too cold in Mongolia and they could not really practice as well as they wanted to. It was only in Guangzhou where they were able to practice properly,” Palami said.

In contrast, he said the Azkals had a good training program under new coach Michael Weiss, not to mention having more firepower than the crew that reached the semis of last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.

“I’m quite confident we’ll have a good result in our home game (against Mongolia),” Palami said.

The Azkals are nearly complete for the match with the arrival of Fil-Icelandic left back Ray Anthony Jonsson Saturday night and Fil-British keeper Neil Etheridge yesterday.

Fil-British defender Rob Geir, the remaining Azkal abroad, is set to plane in today to hook up with Phil and James Younghusband, Simon Greatwich, Anton del Rosario, Jason de Jong and the rest of the team.

Under Weiss, the Azkals will employ a more aggressive style of play.

“Our (current) new system is more on pressing, playing aggressive football and doing a lot of passing as our new coach does not favor direct football and long ball. He has confidence in our ability to hold the leather, pass it around and rotate,” said Araneta, who along with Phil Youngbushand, has been tasked to “dictate the tempo of the game” for Phl.


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