Training camp set for Azkals in Dubai
MANILA, Philippines—Looking to get the best possible preparation for the AFC Challenge Cup, the Philippine Azkals will undergo a 12-day training camp highlighted by four matches against topnotch clubs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The camp will run from Feb. 5 to 17 and Azkals coach Michael Weiss hopes majority of the players based overseas will be able to participate in the workouts.
Cohesion remains an issue for Weiss, who has had to deal with players arriving a day or two before matches as they are tied up with their respective clubs in Europe.
Among those who are still doubtful for the Challenge Cup from March 9 to 13 in Nepal because of club commitments are Stephan Schrock, Neil Etheridge, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara.
“I hope I can put the pieces of the puzzle together in a good way,” Weiss said. “We always talk of cohesion and you cannot jell, if you don’t play together. When we have our best players together, we are strong.”
Bahrain was also considered as a possible site for the camp as it offered free accomodations and transportation, but manager Dan Palami said Dubai also made the same deal.
Weiss said the itinerary in Dubai includes matches against two first division clubs, including Al-Ain. A match with the Australian Under-23 team is also part of the schedule.
A match against the Qatar Under-23 team in Doha is also being worked out.
“This is the next step for Philippine football (playing against strong teams overseas). What’s important is that our local boys—the pillars of the team—have very high level matches during the camp,” said Weiss.
Meanwhile, Philippine Olympic Committee chair Monico Puentevella has been appointed to the marketing and television committee of the International Football Federation (Fifa).
The appointment is the second for Puentevella in Fifa. He was also part of the football body’s powerful media committee.
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