Strong PH squad for AFC Cup qualifying


Philippine Azkals. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

There’s no shortage in experience and quality in the latest group of Philippine Azkals tasked with topping the qualifying to the AFC Challenge Cup final tournament next year.

Stephan Schrock, who is enjoying a good run of matches with Hoffenheim in Germany, and Fil-Spanish striker Javier Patino, who played against a Lionel Messi-led Barcelona team late last year while he was at Cordoba, headline the strong 23-man PH side unveiled by national coach Michael Weiss yesterday.

Except for Ray Jonsson, the entire Europe-based brigade is expected in Manila with Paul Mulders and Juani and Angel Guirado arriving early to train with the side that opens its bid against Brunei at Rizal Memorial Stadium this Friday.

Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Neil Etheridge, Roland Muller and Rob Gier are expected to arrive today.

The Manila-based players in the lineup include skipper Chieffy Caligdong, Suzuki Cup veteran Ed Sacapano, Carli de Murga, Jason de Jong, Misagh Bahadoran, Patrick Reichelt, Marwin Angeles, Matthew Uy, Chris Greatwich, OJ Porteria and Phil and James Younghusband.

“It’s a very good selection; we have all the professional players available,” said Weiss, who probably has the most talented side at his disposal in years. “We can expect a passionate team that will go for the win under all circumstances, with good power and motivation.”

Acquired by Thai powerhouse Buriram United recently, Patino will be making his debut in the tournament. But Weiss said it will be best to temper expectations with the former Spanish second division player.

“Patino is definitely a top player in the Southeast Asian level, even in the Asian level, but it is a team sport and it takes time to connect with the other players,” said Weiss. “We should give him time.”

The Azkals face Cambodia on Sunday and Turkmenistan on March 26. Only the top team in the group will clinch a spot in the tournament in Maldives next year where the champion will gain outright entry to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • pubringjuandelacruz

    Good Luck AZKALS!!!

  • AllinLawisFair

    I wish that David Alaba, (son of a Filipina mother and Nigerian father), Ausria’s best football player who is playing for FC Bayern Munich could also join the Philippine 11.

    • Harold Leighton Saberon

      Totally agree. He is a rising star playing for Germany’s top team. His exposure and experience in the Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League playing for Bayern Munich will be very valuable for the Azkals.

    • Dexter Salas

      Sayang he was already capped for Austria seniors’ team. That would make him ineligible to wear the Philippine colors.

  • Francis Ian Supsup

    Hay naku ala na bang pure breed na pinoy

    • Dexter Salas

      meron naman. EdSa and Chieffy are homegrown. Matthew, OJ,and Marwin are purebred but raised overseas. If we want results NOW we need the help of Euro-breds. Eventually we will get them purebreeds but it will take time. In 6 years perhaps as we do have a pretty strong U-14 national squad.

    • ealicer

      If you can encourage the AETAS, MANGYAN, LUMADS and other TRIBES to play football then you can see pure breed Filipino players but until that happened good luck with that pure breed thing

    • DGuardian

      What is the difference between pure Filipinos and half-Filipinos? Both of them are Filipinos. We should not discriminate against our own.

    • raffyb0i

      Does it really make a difference? Remove this way of thinking, they are representing our country and thats all that matters..

    • CmdrAdobo

      we never had one. so dont complain.

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