Travel-weary Azkals come to grief against superior Viets | Inquirer Sports

Travel-weary Azkals come to grief against superior Viets

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 09:57 PM November 04, 2011

STAR. Keeper Roland Muller shone for the Philippines in the 1-3 loss to Vietnam in the opening of the SEA Games U23 football competition. Photo from

JAKARTA—Blame it on fatigue.

Long plane rides did the Philippine Under-23 Azkals in against Vietnam Thursday at the start of the 26th Southeast Asian Games football action.


The Azkals failed to protect a 1-0 first-half edge and the Vietnamese rampaged the rest of the way for a 3-1 win.


Team manager Dan Palami took the loss with a grain of salt, saying it is a perennial problem for the Azkals whose players come mostly from overseas.

“We have to understand that some of them flew straight from Europe just to play here,” Palami said late Thursday after that loss. “Our team is unstable early in tournaments. But I’m sure they will come around.”

Four of the squad’s starters—goalkeeper Roland Muller, midfielders Manny Ott and Jeffrey Christiaens, and defender Carlos de Murga—arrived here less than a day before the match.

The rest of the team came from a weeklong training camp in Japan. They returned to the Philippines on Oct. 31, a day before taking a seven-hour connecting flight from Manila to Singapore to this traffic-congested Indonesian capital.

“Pagod na sila (they were tired) in the second half and couldn’t keep up with the pressure,” Palami explained. “Our key players reached their limits. But they will be better in the next games.”

Given the result, the Philippines now has four “lighter” assignments in its group schedule, although it needs to win them all to advance to the Final Four.


The Azkals took Friday morning off but after a heavy lunch, they plunged back into training in the afternoon to prepare for the match against Timor Leste on Monday.

“We will just have to work day-to-day and improve,” German coach Michael Weiss said. “The players were tired and couldn’t follow the game plan fully. We need to work hard on our cohesion.”

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TAGS: 2011 Southeast Asian Games, Azkals, Carlos de Murga, Dan Palami, Football, Jeffrey Christiaens, Manny Ott, Roland Muller, Sports

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