Azkals eye first win against Malaysia in Cebu

THE last time the Azkals were in town it was Michael Weiss that was mentoring the team against Singapore.

In their second international friendly match in Cebu, expect some new faces and a different approach to the game.

“We will play a forward style of football. We will attack more. Our mind set will be forward thinking,” said new Azkals coach Thomas Dooley.

The Azkals will be facing fellow Southeast Asia team Malaysia in a friendly match on April 27 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) football pitch.

Not only will the coach be new, but also some of the players will be different from the players that played against Singapore in 2012.

The Azkals pool now has more local players who play in the UFL.

“We already have a list of players. The same team that will play in Qatar will play in Cebu. But there may be changes if there are injuries,” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.

The Azkals have two more friendly matches this month, one against Nepal in Qatar on April 11 and against Al Ahli SC in Doha.

Under Dooley, the Azkals had a loss and a draw and will be looking their first win under the American coach against Malaysia.

“The Azkals haven’t lost a single game here in Cebu yet. I hope that trend continues.

We are looking at Cebu as our second home. Not just a place to relax but actually to get much-needed assistance in raising funds for our campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup and hopefully the AFC Asian Cup,” said Palami.

To help raise funds for the team, Palami has revived the “We Believe” campaign and hopes the Cebuanos will give them a helping hand.

Cebu Football Association President Ricky Dakay is confident that the pitch will be ready on the match date.

“We made a miracle in preparing it for Singapore. There is no reason that we won’t make it this time. We will overcome that particular challenge,” he said. “The biggest challenge is brining the field into FIFA conditions. It makes it more important because it is the last match before the Challenge Cup.”

After the Malaysia friendly, the Philippines will be competing in the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives next month. Its first match is against Afghanistan on May 21, then against Laos on May 22 and then against Turkmenistan on May 24.


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