Saturday, 14 May 2011

Azkals back in training - thepoc

Posted by chardyboy on Saturday, May 14, 2011 0 comments


The Philippine Men's National Football Team is back in training in preparation for the Asia Zone World Cup Qualifiers in June. Popularly known as the "Azkals", led by Team Captain Aly Borromeo and co-skipper Chieffy Caligdong, the players started their two-session daily trainings early this week at the Alabang Town and Country Club.

Attending the training camp that will run until May 21 are Azkal veterans Anton del Rosario, Yanti Barsales and others in the pool. Ian Araneta was on the sidelines recovering from a groin injury. James and Phil Younghusband, who are both playing for Smart San Beda FC in the ongoing Smart National Championship Games in Laguna, missed the training but a few former Azkals and Fil-foreigners reinforced the national team's camp.

The 28-year-old Gould said in a report: “It has been my boyhood dream to play for the Philippines on an international level, culminating in the pinnacle of the World Cup. Since joining the Azkals back in 2004 and now playing for the opportunity to compete in the World Cup qualifiers is one step closer to that dream becoming a reality.”

Old and new booters
Fil-British booter Chad Gould dropped from the All-England Beach Soccer Tour to join the Azkals. Gould, whose mother hails from Cebu, first played for the Azkals in 2004. He was part of the team in the 2005 SEA Games and the 2008 and 2009 AFC Challenge Cups. The Philippine Football Federation (FFF) invited him to return to the national team.

Another former Azkal, Fil-Aussie defender Leigh Gunn, 30, is also making a comeback. Gunn began his national team stint in 1999 and played under former National Coach Juan Cutillas in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games qualifiers and in the 2006 AFC Challenge Cup qualifying stage.

Others who joined the tryouts were Fil-Ams strikers Neil Patrick Ignacio, 17, and Jose Porteria of the US Football Developmental Academy and LA Galaxy team.

German coach Michael Weiss and his staff will also evaluate Fil-Am striker James Rochilitz, 16, and defender Nathaniel Payos Burkey, 26. They were selected by Borromeo and Del Rosario in the US-leg Azkals' tryouts last April.

Tondo-born Fil-Swede striker Gustav Cajayon Sjoberg, 29, and Fil-Iranian Misagh Bahadoran, 24, of the Global Smartmatic also tried their luck.

"It’s still too early to tell how those trying out will fare," said Team Manager Dan Palami. The first leg of the qualifiers will be on June 29 in Colombo, Sri Lanka while the return leg will be held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on July 3.


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