Latest Stories

Hopes still high for Azkals


FILE PHOTO — Azkals celebrate Phil Younghusband’s goal in the friendly match against Nepal. PHOTO BY RICHARD REYES

BANGKOK—There’s little to worry about even with the Philippines missing its top two goalkeepers in the AFF Suzuki Cup here. And with overseas-based players all accounted for in the Thai capital, hopes are high that the Azkals can pull off a surprise on opening-day against Thailand at Rajamangala National Stadium here.

On the day coach Michael Weiss reiterated his full backing for third-choice keeper Ed Sacapano, Filipino-Danish leftback Dennis Cagara arrived from Frankfurt to complete the roster for the group stage, where the Azkals will face Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Weiss marveled at the quality at his disposal, even as he faces a selection dilemma a day before he was slated to submit his final 22-man list in Group A.

Misagh Bahadoran has already been ruled out because of a thigh injury, but the likes of Carli de Murga, the returning Angel Guirado, Patrick Reichelt, Marwin Angeles, Chris Greatwich, Ian Araneta, Demitrius Omphroy and Jason Sabio are all in contention to make the 18-man list for the Thailand match.

The midfield pair of Holland-based Paul Mulders and Filipino-Danish Jerry Lucena also trained with the squad for the first time in the facility just outside the national stadium.

The selection dilemma speaks volumes of how the team has evolved into a formidable unit, considering that two years ago, in the same tournament, former coach Simon McMenemy struggled to find options off the bench.

“We have good options,” said Weiss, whose side faces Vietnam on Nov. 27 and Myanmar on Nov. 30.

“We’re looking forward to fielding a very strong team,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “Everything is geared toward winning the championship.”

In terms of Fifa rankings, the Azkals are second to Vietnam here, but the three other teams in the group possess more football  pedigree, particularly Thailand, which has won the tournament three times.

“We have done our homework as far as team preparation and scouting is concerned,” said Weiss, whose side trained in the United States and played high-level matches in the Middle East in the leadup to the tournament.

Sacapano, who proved superb in the 1-0 win over Singapore last week in Cebu, has been thrust into the limelight following the absence of Neil Etheridge and Roland Muller. The Azkals have brought in Swiss goalkeeping coach Pascal Zuberbuhler to help out Sacapano.

“This man has been very quiet and very hard in training even if he wasn’t getting his chances,” Weiss said. “Sacapano played super, fantastic performance against Singapore and in the past couple of months and I will be the happiest man if he can continue that.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: AFF Suzuki Cup , Azkals , Football

  • http://twitter.com/mackren Mark Lee Cinco

    Go Azkals!!! Surprise the other ASEAN teams again…Filipinos are all out to support your every game. Viva Islas Pilipinas!!!

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after gear fails
  • 8 killed in Finland parachutist plane accident
  • $57-B mega plan to solve Metro’s mega woes
  • Aquino vows to step up fight against corruption
  • Santiago scoffs at rushing defense pact for Obama visit
  • Sports

  • PH pug Hipolito Banal decisions Colombian in Aiba
  • Former Pacquiao sparmate Porter keeps IBF title
  • Grueling 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas hits road
  • ICTSI Tour big hitters have edge at Sherwood
  • What Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could do
  • Lifestyle

  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Korean animation comes of age
  • Entertainment

  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Special section in LA fest for Filipino films
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace