Azkals beefing up for two big tourneys
Facing a tough road to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in China, the Philippines will be looking to secure the availability of new players to shore up the squad in time before the deadline for registration ends on Aug. 5.
Azkals manager Dan Palami said their wish list includes defenders Michael Kempter, Amin Nazari, Jesse Curran, Elias Mordal and Raphael Obermair.
“The next two weeks will be critical for the backroom staff in making sure that we have these players in the lineup for the qualifiers,” said Palami, who has been managing the Azkals since 2010.
“The work behind the scenes is equally important if we want to have the best possible squad there.”
Kempter, a Fil-Swiss defender who plays for FC Zurich, already has a Filipino passport just like Nazari, but Palami said Fifa has required additional documentation for them to play in the qualifiers.
Curran, who plays for Scottish side Dundee United, is also in the process of securing his Filipino passport.
Born in Germany, Obermair is a former Bayern Munich player, but is currently tied up with Austrian side Sturm Graz. Palami said the player needs to personally process his passport in Berlin.
The Azkals face Syria on Sept. 5 at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, before traveling to Guam for their second match. A match against China is set on Oct. 15 in Bacolod, before the Azkals take on Maldives and Syria in away matches in November.
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