2015 Asian Cup is Azkals next target


MANILA—The Philippine Azkals are setting their sights on qualifying for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia. And they will get their first shot as early as March next year when they see action in the final round of the AFC Challenge Cup hosted by Nepal.

“Bringing home the Challenge Cup is our next target as it ensures our participation for the 2015 the Asian Cup,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “It’s not akin to the World Cup, but the hype and excitement will be at the level of the World Cup.”

This early, Palami is already mulling the staging of friendlies for the Azkals in preparation for the Challenge Cup.

Palami rattled off India and Pakistan as prospective opponents for friendly matches for the Azkals in October.

“All of the friendly matches we will have are preparatory to the Challenge Cup and keep our rankings up,” said Palami, who had lamented the recent drop of the Azkals’ position in the Fifa rankings despite their victories against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh early this year.

When Palami flies to Europe late this month, he intends to talk to the clubs of Europe-based Azkals like Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara and lobby for their release for the March 3 to 18 tournament.

“We want to bring the best possible team to the Challenge Cup,” he said.

Although he has yet to reveal their names, Palami is also seeking to talk to new Filipino prospects for the team based in Europe.

“So far, we have six names, but it might expand to 10 before I leave,” said Palami.

The Azkals return to action in the Long Teng Cup starting Sept. 28 in Taiwan, with Palami expected to field a mix of the seniors team and the Under-23 squad that is preparing for the Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta in November.

The Azkals advanced to the AFC Challenge Cup main tournament for the first time by overcoming Mongolia in pre-qualifying, before finishing second behind Palestine in the group qualifying in Myanmar last March.

The other teams that qualified for the Challenge Cup, a competition for emerging Asian countries, are North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Maldives, Nepal and India.

The Azkals saw their World Cup qualifying run end last July 28 when they lost to Kuwait, 1-5, on aggregate after the second round.

Still, the Azkals already made history by reaching the second round after beating Sri Lanka in their first World Cup qualifying tie in close to 10 years.

The Azkals missed standouts like Lucena, Cagara and Mulders in the Kuwait tie because of club commitments

“This early we will already ask permission for their clubs so that it will be easier for us next year,” Palami added.

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  • ji p

    Nung napanood ko sa TV yung ensayo ng Azkal nagulat ako na karamihan sa kanila taga ibang bansa pala.  Nadismaya tuloy ako.  Di na ba talaga kayang magkaroon ng “home grown athletes” ang Pilipinas.

    Coach, pa try-out ka kaya?

    • Dhon Buenavista

      Di lalo kang nadismaya nang nakita mo ang Team Coach is PURE GERMAN? Search mo ang #1 striker ng Indonesia. Naturalized citizen sya. meaning wlang dugong Indonesian, pure URUGUAYAN. In soccer, kung kaya lng bumili ng sikat na player para lng lumakas ang team, gagawin un.

      • DarkJustice

        utak biya ka din! Wag mo sila gayahin..Eh di gawin mo na lang puro foreigners players sa RP Team! Tinawag mo pang RP Team! Bopols!

      • raymond m

        hindi sila purong pinoy pero hindi rin sila purong german o briton o espanyol kasi half-breed nga…hindi nila kasalan maging half at wala ding bansa na para lang sa mga half-breed….kung sakaling hindi sila tangapin ng kabilang bansa at hindi rin natin sila tatangapin bilang atin, saan sila lulugar???hindi rin nila kasalanan na mas magaling sila sa mga puro….kayo naman, naglalaro nanga para sa bansa natin kokontrahin nyo pa????malaki sahod ng mga yan sa mother teams nila kahit di man sila ang star players doon.

  • Anonymous

    puro na lang kayo target ng target wala namang nataga!!!!!  By 2015, iba na naman yong players ni Mr. Dan Palami……

    • DarkJustice

      BAKIT hindi mga tunay na Pinoy ang player ng Azkal? MAdami namang pinoy na naglalaro ng football,di baleng matalo basta lumalaban at bitbit ang national pride! Tingnan nyo ang Phil Dragon Boat Team,puro totoong Pinoy! :D

      • Kevin Estrada

        tumigil ka nga diyan…may puso silang Pinoy. sige nga tignan mo nga puso mo  kung pinoy ka talaga..

        ok lang kung saan silang lupalop galing, bast ang ipinaglalaban nila ay para sa Pilipinas!

      • DarkJustice

        Poging Kevin Estrada! Malamang bading ka kya masyado kang kampi sa Azkal! Sa apelyido mo palang eh ikaw ang walang pusong pinoy! Hindi mo muna intindihin ang sinulat ko bago ka umalsa dyan! Kung ikaw kaya ang may skills na football at mas piliin ang mga foreigner na maglaro,ano mararamdaman mo? UL*L ka pala eh! :D

      • Dhon Buenavista

        Weh! Puro totoong pinoy ba talga? wlang halong intsik/spanish/americans ang dugo nila? Give me a list of PURE PINOY! pati sarili mong dugo salain mo kung PURE PINOY KA! Bat di ka nagtaka kung bakit PURE GERMAN ang team coach? Di ba pumasok sa isip mo un? Search mo sa google #1 striker ng Indonesia kung taga saan sya!

      • DarkJustice

        hahaha,pinapatawa mo ako,isa’t kalahating bopols ka din pala!

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