Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Full-bodied Azkals play S'poreans in friendly

Posted by chardyboy on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 0 comments

by Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) 

MANILA, Philippines - A Philippine Azkals side that will parade a full complement will play higher-ranked Singapore in a Fifa friendly match next month.

Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta said Singapore (129th in the world) has agreed to meet the Azkals (162nd) on Oct. 7 at the Lions’ turf, giving the Pinoys a chance to test their skills and possibly improve their world ranking.

“Singapore has agreed to do a friendly but instead of having it here, they want it held in Singapore since they have a scheduled Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers third round game on Oct. 11,” Araneta said of Singapore’s positive response to the PFF’s invitation.

“We at the PFF and Azkals coach Michael Weiss are both okay with it so we’ll finalize the arrangement with the Football Association of Singapore,” he added.

The PFF has invited higher-ranked countries like Singapore, Oman, Qatar, and Bangladesh, to play the Azkals anytime from Oct. 6-11, the period designated as “Fifa match calendar days.” 

During those dates, clubs all over the world will release players to their respective national teams, allowing the likes of Europe-based Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara to join the Azkals.
“All the players based in Europe will be available, so we’re excited to see the full squad play against a higher ranked team like Singapore,” said Araneta.

Pakistan, ranked 170th, has offered to come over to Manila to tangle with the Azkals on Oct. 9.

“It will be up to Weiss and team management if they would want to play Pakistan after the friendly with Singapore,” Araneta said.

The Azkals are back in training after bowing out of the World Cup Asian preliminaries. They are set to hold camp in Bacolod City this week before competing at the Long Teng Cup in Chinese-Taipei from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.


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