Azkals test their strength for CC CupBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippines gauges the progress of its buildup for the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers when it takes on Burma (Myanmar) in a friendly in Yangon Wednesday night.
It will be the Azkals’ first match since their semifinal exit in the AFF Suzuki Cup, where they bowed to eventual champion Singapore last December.
And while the Azkals beat Myanmar, 2-0, for the first time in the group stage of the Suzuki Cup, overcoming the Burmese at home in the 6:30 p.m. clash should still be a tough test.
“This is a good test to shake off the cobwebs after a long break against a team that’s always strong at home,” Azkals manager Dan Palami said. “Our intention is to have a strong team for the Challenge Cup.”
Group E Qualifying is slated March 22 to 26 at Rizal Memorial Stadium with the Azkals contesting top spot against Turkmenistan, Cambodia and Myanmar.
The Azkals won’t have the majority of their overseas-based players who keyed their Suzuki Cup run as only Neil Etheridge, Manny Ott and Rob Gier are available.
Suzuki Cup veterans Phil and James Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong, Jason de Jong and Chris Greatwich are also in the side which will miss rightback Carli de Murga and Denis Wolf due to injuries.
Ott, who last played against Indonesia in a friendly last year, and Greatwich could start at midfield while De Jong is expected to be slotted back to defense alongside Gier.
“We will give other players a chance, particularly those who were not able to play much in Suzuki Cup,” said coach Michael Weiss.