Azkals line-up for AFC Cup qualifiers released

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Monday, March 18, 2013


TWENTY-three players have been called up by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) on Monday to compose the men’s national team Azkals in the upcoming 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

They are Marwin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Dennis Cagara, Chieffy Caligdong, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason de Jong, Neil Etheridge, Robert Gier, Chris Greatwich, brothers Angel and Juani Guirado, Jerry Lucena, Carli de Murga, Paul Mulders, Roland Müller, Javier Patiño, Jose Elmer Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, Eduard Sacapaño, Stephan Schrock, Matthew Uy, and James and Phil Younghusband.

The PFF said the list was made after the final selection done by the coaching staff led by German mentor Michael Weiss.

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“I don’t want to change too many positions in the team because we’ve been working on having the team play together in a proper way which we’ve achieved now. Most likely we will see old faces and we will change one or two positions,” he said.

To earn a ticket to the finals in Maldives next year, the Filipinos will have to outlast visiting squads from Brunei on March 22, Cambodia on March 24, and Turkmenistan in March 26.

Etheridge has to sit out on Group E’s opening match on Friday as he will be serving his suspension for his unflattering behavior in last year’s tournament, where the Philippines placed third behind semifinal conqueror Turkmenistan and North Korea.

This means either Sacapaño or Müller will have to suit up as keeper.

Weiss said he has modest expectations for Spain-born Patiño, whose skills are supposedly good for Asian level.

“It is a team sport and it takes time to connect with other players. We should give him time. We know that we can expect something but perhaps not the best yet,” he said.

Patiño, whose mother is a Filipina, is currently playing for Thailand team Buriram United in the Thai Premier League. He also saw action for Cordova FC of Spain’s La Liga 2nd division.

Tickets for the matches range from P100 to P4,000. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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