Key Azkals to miss AFC Challenge Cup
Filipino-Danish Jerry Lucena and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge have been ruled out of the March 9 to 13 event, while Stephan Schrock is doubtful because of club commitments.
But Azkals manager Dan Palami said there is a big possibility that Fil-Dutch playmaker Paul Mulders and Fil-Danish leftback Dennis Cagara could be available for the matches.
Palami also said that the injury to Chieffy Caligdong was not serious as everyone had feared and the influential winger could be back in action before the Challenge Cup.
Mulders will miss the training camp in Dubai starting next week, but will be released by Dutch club ADO Den Haag for the Challenge Cup, Palami said.
Cagara, who impressed in the 4-0 win over Nepal last year, has signified his intention to reinforce the team in Nepal.
“Jerry’s club wrote to us saying he can’t be released because they are preparing for important matches,” said Palami.
Etheridge will be available for the Feb. 29 friendly against Malaysia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, but will be unavailable for the Challenge Cup because of his commitment to English club Fulham.
Filipino-German Roland Muller will be tapped in Etheridge’s absence.
Aly Borromeo, the captain and lead central defender, will also miss the Challenge Cup because of an ACL injury, leaving Rob Gier, Jason Sabio and Filipino-Spanish Juan Luis Guirado to man the backline.