Azkals' Mid East friendlies-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
THE Philippine Azkals battled host Bahrain to a fighting 0-0 draw last Friday in their first FIFA sanctioned friendly in the Middle East.
The team displayed efficiency in the first half but was unable to connect with their strikes.
In the second half, Bahrain made some adjustments to clamp down the Azkals but, despite the pressure, Bahrain failed to convert on opportunities.
We have witnessed how Bahrain managed to unravel the Azkals' young talents and what adjustments coach Hans Micahel Weiss must fix to improve its chances against the much stronger Kuwait tomorrow.
Pounce on every given opportunity. Football is a game of opportunity and chances. The balance of the match depends on the ball control by the team. The Azkals demonstrated confidence and great ball movement in the first, surprising the host team. It was unfortunate that they were not able to convert on the openings. In international competition at this level, chances must be converted.
It means that we have to be deadly. The Azkals must show lethal and accurate counters to offset the bigger, faster and more experienced opponents.
Against Kuwait tomorrow, our defense must remain compact, especially our back four. They must be very disciplined and unforgiving in defense, since we all know the Kuwaitis are riding with high confidence against the Azkals.
Our midfield should dictate the tempo and avoid wasting ball possessions. Our strikers must infiltrate deep within enemy territory without being spotted by defense.
Full Force. Against the higher ranked Kuwait (FIFA ranking 112), the Azkals must name its strongest line-up in years. That means all available players must don the national colors in this occasion.
We are happy to see Angel Guirado, Stephan Shrock and Neil Etheridge playing against Kuwait and, with the addition of fresh and young talents, we might pull off a big upset against the much-hyped and ever buoyant Kuwait side.
They may have the experienced players and the home court advantage but we all know what our fighting Azkals are capable of doing even in the adversary's home turf.
We might see a different approach against the fast and mighty Kuwaitis. At least a draw will make coach Weiss' team upbeat on their coming Suzuki Cup preparations.
Value Added Experience. Whatever the result of tomorrow's friendly against Kuwait will definitely be a boost for the team. Slowly the players are gaining precious international exposure that is a key component in global competition. Gradually the Azkals are gaining respect from the region and have plenty of time to rise further in FIFA rankings.
The Mid East sorties will further fuel the football frenzy in our country if the Azkals make some headlines. The influx of exciting talent in the team which includes Demet Omphroy, William Uy, Marwin Angeles etc. will make the roster stable and formidable for future matches. It's the reason why we are very much hopeful with the development in our football program. (Jun-Jun Carballo/Contributor)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 16, 2012.