Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bahrain eyes Azkals for four-nation tournament, training camps

Posted by chardyboy on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 0 comments


MANAMA—Impressed by the huge turnout in the friendly pitting the Philippines and its Under-23 Olympic team, the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) is eyeing a bigger partnership with the Azkals, including more training camps here and the possible staging of a four-nation tournament.

About 10,000 people, most of them overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here, turned up in the first of the two Bahrain-Philippines friendly matches that ended with Bahrain winning, 2-1, at the National Stadium in Riffa Saturday night.

“The Philippine team is always welcome here,” BFA technical affairs head Hassan Ismael told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday night during a dinner tendered by the football association. “We saw the loyalty of Filipinos to their team and it’s a quality that people in Bahrain share with them.”

The Azkals are scheduled to play the Bahrain Under-23 team again Monday night in the friendly matches sponsored by AMA International University and Dr. Amable Aguiluz.

The Azkals are gearing up for their second-round World Cup qualifying duel against Middle East powerhouse Kuwait on July 23 and 28.

Ismael said they could help stage a four-nation tournament featuring neighboring Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates and the Azkals in 2012.

The Bahrain squad came within a win of reaching the 2010 World Cup.

Lead organizer Edith Fuentes of Creator Marketing and Consultancy said the match marked one of the biggest gatherings of Filipinos here. Bahrain is home to 46,000 OFWs.

Azkals manager Dan Palami welcomed the partnership.

“A closer cooperation with the Bahrain Football Association will be very beneficial to the Philippines … considering the level and quality of football here,” Palami said.


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