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


  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?
  • Marketplace