Charity tiff: Philippine Azkals face Madrid side | Inquirer Sports

Charity tiff: Philippine Azkals face Madrid side

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 09:30 PM January 06, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—It will be one of those days when the “Beautiful Game” means so much more.

Hoping to help raise funds for victims of a recent natural disaster, the finest football talents in the country join forces to battle Spanish side Internacionale de Madrid Saturday in a charity match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The match dubbed “Dili Kamo Nag Iisa” (You Are Not Alone, in Cebuano) kicks off at 4 p.m., but skills challenges involving the players, celebrities and fans will start 2 p.m.

Proceeds of the game, held in coordination with LBC Foundation, ABS-CBN and the Philippine Football Federation, as well as from memorabilia that will be auctioned off during the match, will go to the victims of Tropical Storm Sendong in Mindanao.

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The local squad will be known as “Azkals Alyansa” with standouts from the national team combining with talents from the United Football League.

And though preparations for the match were short, Azkals co-skipper Chieffy Caligdong said motivation won’t be lacking against the Spanish side.

“It’s an opportunity to help and we can do that by playing our best,” the diminutive winger said in Filipino after training at the Turf at Bonifacio Global City Thursday night.

“This is a special game for me because it’s my first time to play in a charity match. I will be playing not only for myself but for the victims.”

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“It’s just great that we can all come together, help support each other through football,” said Azkals midfielder James Younghusband.

Expected to see action for Azkals Alyansa are brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Fil-Spanish players Carli de Murga and Angel Guirado and fellow national players Roel Gener, Ed Sacapano, Misagh Bahadoran, Jason Sabio and Anton del Rosario and UFL aces Tats Mercado and Martin Doctora.

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The Azkals are also using the game to sharpen up for the AFC Challenge Cup slated in Nepal in March. Another charity game has been scheduled on Jan. 21 for the Azkals, this time against a South Korean side from Incheon.

CF Madrid head coach Javier Garcia Marquez and team captain Julian “Juli” Rodriguez Bautista vowed to give the local side a tough time.

“They’re a very good team, hopefully we can give them a good test,” Bautista said.

CF Madrid plays in the fourth tier of Spanish football, one level higher than where Guirado used to play.

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Marquez dismissed concerns that the long travel from Spain will be a problem for his team. “We are excited,” he said. “Its a celebration for the sport.”

TAGS: AFC Challenge Cup, Angel Guirado, Anton del Rosario, Azkals Alyansa, Chieffy Caligdong, Ed Sacapano, James Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran, Philippine Azkals, Roel Gener, Sports, Typhoon Sendong, UFL, United Football League

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