Azkals host Singapore in semis


The Philippines has beaten Singapore twice in friendly matches the last three months.

But that hardly counts as far as the Azkals are concerned as they brace for the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals against the three-time champion Lions starting this Saturday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

What counts most, national team manager Dan Palami said, is the support of the home crowd as the Azkals play in the first Suzuki Cup game the country will host.

“Now that we are here, we are hoping the home fans can help get us through,” said Palami. “We can’t count a lot on the results of the past.”

But a cloud of uncertainty hovers over the participation of the Azkals’ foreign-based players. Angel Guirado, one of the scorers against Myanmar, returned to India on Saturday to rejoin his club, while leftback Dennis Cagara also flew back to Germany as he awaits clearance from his club.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said they have already communicated with the clubs of the players, seeking their release for the Suzuki Cup semifinals, almost immediately after the win against Myanmar Friday night.

Singapore earned top spot in Group B with a thrilling 4-3 win over Laos Saturday night in Shah Alam, Malaysia, paving the way for a showdown with the Azkals, who finished second in Group A after winning against Vietnam and Myanmar in Bangkok.

Defending champion Malaysia also advanced by beating Indonesia, 2-0.

As the No. 2 team in the group, the Azkals get to host the first leg of the semifinals with Singapore staging the second leg at the Jelan Besar Stadium on Dec. 12.

There are hardly any secrets between the two sides, having already played four times since the 2010 tournament and two times in the last three months, including last Nov. 15 when the Azkals prevailed, 1-0, at the Cebu City Sports Center. The Azkals also beat Singapore, 2-0, at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore last September.

Palami said the current form of the Singaporeans is a cause for worry.

“We should be wary of them,” said Palami. “Singapore has always been a strong team with a lot of quality.”

Palami noted the Singapore comeback against Laos, where the Lions overhauled a 0-2 deficit to prevail, is a testament to the strength of the three-time champions.

Striker Phil Younghusband, who scored the first goal in the 2-0 win over Myanmar, said those two wins against Singapore give the Azkals “a lot of confidence.”

“But this is a tournament where anybody can beat anybody,” the striker added.

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  • captainramius

    Can some rich billionaire say MVP or Danding build a world class soccer stadium dito sa Pinas…. we need a very good stadium than Rizal … circa 50s pa ito.

    • riba1023

      Rizal Memorial was built in 1932 that is why it was ravaged during the Liberation of Manila in 1945.

    • riba1023

      Rizal Memorial was built in 1932 ,it was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945, So  hindi ito ginawa in the 1950’s but for a world class staduim I agree with that.  Rizal Memorial has outlive its usefullness and PSA is not doing anything to renovate the stadium,

    • riba1023

      Rizal Memorial was built in 1932 and was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945.  I agree that we need a world class staduim. Rizal Memorial has outlive its usefullness and PSA has no political will to renovate its facilities.  Besides a stadium’s parking lot should fit at least 1000 or more cars  and I don’t think Rizal Memorial can fit that many cars.  Besides we have a propensity of building basketball arenas that it be every city’s landmark project.

    • peteryang47

      Very good constructive proposal from your posting captainramius. Yes I believe  Philippines is in need to build a new stadium. A stadium where it can accommodate a bigger crowd, with seat capacity,, It is a long term  investment that will generate more revenue when you have a bigger stadium that can accommodate more crowd 
      With modern world class stadium, you can even participate to compete with the rests with confidence to host Intl sports, such as Asian Games, Intl field and track , Asian Cup, World baseball Series or even the Women World Cup and etc  Besides with the growing popularity of football in the country, and with a modern stadium, you can confidently expect world class teams like Barcelona Real Madrid Manchester United Chelsea, etc to include Philippines in their off season Asia friendly tour . One thing which many peoples does not realize is  that when you host a major intl sport event, you are also promoting tourism and awareness of your beautiful country  to the rests of the world  and the outlook of the stadium will give them the first impression. TV and media coverage on the Games/sports plays an important part as well in promoting tourism  specially the  foreign medias when they are covering the sports event in the country.
      riba1023  also gave a very good input, and it is true on allocating more parking space for  cars.  Thank you captainramius and riba1023. 

    • CmdrAdobo

      if football will be more popular should be no problem for them. These billionaires are looking for ROI after all.

  • captainramius

    Something is happening even my 82 year old mom want to see the Azkals games in Rizal… soccer has its own magic … better late than never… Go AZKALS !!!

  • sam_aquino

    go AZKALS!!!

  • regd

    I’m proud we made it this far again! What a bonus if we go the finals! Siguradong mahirapan akong matulog pagtapos pero bahala na.

    Anyway matalo o manalo, dedicate ko ang home & away game ke Arnold Clavio! 

    • regd

      Oopps.. sorry, I mean ‘to the finals’. I can actually spell.

    • SG0609

       yeah right…I used to watch arnold’s program until the day he berated the azkals…he is one arrogant SOB

      • captainramius

        Why kabayan ano sinabi ng ugok na SOB na yan ?  Di ko napanood .

      • Handiong

        Sinabi nya hindi naman daw mga Filipinos ang Azkals.

  • 1voxPopuli

    we can get both home-crowd advantage; when Azkals played in singapore, pinoys out-numbered the locals (sg) in attendance.

    go azkals!

  • Rednaxela VD

    It would be tough if Azkals dont get Cagara and Guirado.  Both have been playing solid.

    On hindsight it would be a chance for the other substitutes

    What has happened to Aly Borromeo?  Is he still injured?

  • teddy

    go azkals!!!

  • Lando

    Mabuhay Azkals !  Talunin nyo ang Singapore ! Talunin nyo ang Pinoy Crabs !  

  • Noel

    What’s going on with these foreign players?  Returning to their clubs just when the team needs them most?  That’s ridiculous.  Next time, let’s get foreign players that commit 100% to our team even if they’re not as good but willing to be trained and play for our country.

    • tilney

      These players have contract with their clubs which they have to honor. If the tournament is   a FIFA tournament, the clubs can release them. The fee that they receive from  AZKALS is  not even 10% of what they receive from their clubs..They play for AZKAL since this the dream of every football player to play and represent a country.

    • japokjackpot

      why not get arnold clavio? he’s from kiribati.

    • Jao Romero

      PBA stars won’t even suit up for Gilas, and PBA won’t adjust schedule for international tourneys.

    • Thensio

      Di naman po nila siguro ginusto na ganyan mangyari and di naman yata fair to question their commitment…may mga kontrata din sila sa mother clubs nila at since wala sa FIFA calendar yung Suzuki, no choice sila but to follow their club’s wishes…in football, playing for the flag is still a big honor…imho sa basketball nawala na yung essence na yun kasi takot ma injury outside of their team

    • Lito G

      You simply do not know what you are talking about…. you are plain stupid.

    • HRK1

      Let me explain to you, Seth, Pedromino, BatanBawang who do not know what pro football is about.

      Club football is the bread and butter of pro footballers. It is the club that control their life and career.

      Lionel messi (mother country: Argentina, contracted to Barcelona FC in Spain) and Cristiano ronaldo (mother country: Portugal and contracted to Real Madrid FC in Spain), both of these players earn multi million dollar contracts for playing football.

      Do you know how much they earn playing for their country?

      They only get free airfare, accommodation, food and tournament bonus……that’s it!

      Clubs by FIFA law will release players for FIFA and Olympic sanctioned games ONLY.

      Unfortunately, AFF champs, SEA games and challenge cup are not covered by this ruling.

      The clubs have to assess the risk on their investments before they are allowed to play for their mother country (ie is it too far, is the player a key player for the club, what if the player gets injured etc etc)

      Ikaw ba ipapahiram mo ba ang mamahalin mong camera o laptop sa ibang Tao……eh Kung masira o hindi ibalik?

      • Noel

        Yours is a better explanation than the other jerks who immediately attacked my comments.  Simply stated, no good foreign player in his right mind would choose to play for us full time due to money.  This reminds me of the Phl Rugby Team that’s doing very well and may qualify for Rugby World Cup.  Many of these players with some Filipino blood are professionals like lawyers.  They spend their own money for the training and trips.  That’s what we call real sacrifice.

      • Handiong

        Noel, my unsolicited advice: do some research first before you comment. Or, alternatively, instead of asserting something that you are not sure of, ask a question. Your fault is that you categorically stated something out of ignorance and personally attacked the foreign-based players (“That’s ridiculous.”). The “attacks” you got served you right.

      • Absolute123

        Guys, give Noel a break. What happened to the saying , “no such thing as a stupid question”,,,,his comment is valid. Calling somebody “stupid or ignorant” is degrading. This tells you a lot about the real personality of a person.

      • Handiong

        Did you fully understand what Noel said? He didn’t just ask a question. He (1) insulted the foreign-based players by calling them “ridiculous”, (2) implied that they are not 100% committed, and (3) called for their replacement. He did all these out of, yes, ignorance, and I don’t apologize for using the word because that’s the truth. No use glossing it over. 

      • peteryang47

        Games that are FIFA sanctioned such as World Cup Olympics the clubs has to release their players for national duty calls, Games that are not,, respective countries has to seek permission  from these clubs  to obtain players release,. The above report shows that the initial arrangement/agreement  was that the players were released by respective clubs to play in the Suzuki Cup  Qualifying Group matches, and if the team advance or qualified, which in this case they did,  the Philippines Football Federation will have to make another request to obtain the  players to be released , which the final decision will still  rest on the clubs.
        That is why they had to return back to their respective clubs and awaits for the clearance from the clubs again. If they had stayed on, they may had break the agreement clause and the clubs can fine them and even refused to release them, so to avoid such, they must abide by the terms and condition and must be back to present themselves to the clubs by the due date as agreed in the agreement.  
        I think Mr Noel is just wanting to know why these players has to be flown back when the team has already qualified for the Semis, when they should be with the squad to prepare for the Semis, Perhaps my explanation may shed some lights Mr Noel, Thank you Sir

      • captainramius

        ok lang yan Noel… ako dont know also the rules on the club releases … important thing we all love soccer… GO AZKALS  and may the younger generation play football from now on…

    • John

      NOEL:  Your questions shows you are CLUELESS about football.  You are laughable and hopelessly IGNORANT.  Next time, please ask intelligent questions.    

    • rayingga

       alam mo ba ang sinasabi mo? magtanong ka pa tungkol sa mga foreign players ng azkals, it will help a lot for you to understand.

    • odi g

       what a pity, too ignorant!

    • castor_troy_79

      noel – you are dumb! bigtime!

    • CmdrAdobo

      typical comment from someone who havent watched full 90 min football.

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