Sunday, 3 July 2011

Azkals: Pitch conditions, home crowd will be key

Posted by chardyboy on Sunday, July 03, 2011 0 comments

source: By Earl Victor Rosero

"The pitch is amazing!" Coach Michael Weiss was all compliments Saturday about the condition of the green turf of the Rizal Stadium where the men's national teams of Sri Lanka and the Philippines took turns for practice sessions.

Team manager Dan Palami was also thrilled that the playing field the Azkals came back to will let them run better and make the ball roll the way they want it to roll. There is the also the home game factor.

"I'm confident that the guys will be able to play the way we should play considering the crowd and the better pitch," Palami said via Twitter.

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) General Secretary Ramon Manuel was also as elated about the venue conditions. "We will win the game for we will be playing on a much better pitch and with thousands of fans screaming!"

Bonnie Ladrido, chairman of the local organizing committee, gave credit to the De La Salle University for maintaining the pitch. DLSU conducts some of its physical education classes and team practice sessions at the stadium.

The Sri Lanka Brave Reds said they are also hopeful of winning. Their Korean coach Jang Jung struck a cheerful and confident demeanor during the news conference at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila. But he gave no hint of what strategy he will employ when his team goes up against the Azkals again.

The starting line-ups will be officially released about an hour before kick-off at 3:30pm. The composition of that roster will give hints on how each side intends to approach the second leg of their Round 1 2014 World Cup Qualifers match.

In the latest FIFA Rankings, the Philippines is at 159th place while Sri Lanka is 171st.

Coaches and team captains of both sides confirmed Saturday morning that all their players are fit to play and have high morale.

When they compete tomorrow, their possible Round 2 opponent, Kuwait, will be at the grandstand to size them up. PFF training director Aris Caslib revealed to GMA News that the Kuwait Football Association's technical director is in the country to personally see both teams play.

The PFF will also have its technical study team at the stadium to analyze the game and the Azkals' performance. - JVP, GMA News


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