Injuries plague Philippine Azkals

By Peter Atencio

The Philippine Azkals football team’s conditioning coach Joseph Malinay said yesterday that injuries may prevent the Azkals from practicing as a team.

Malinay said injured players Ian Araneta, Paolo Pascal and Edward Sacapano have yet to fully recover, and he’s doing all he can to speed up their recovery in time for the team’s stint in the Asian Football Confederation group stages in Myanmar slated two months from now.

“Hindi pa sila nakakasali sa practice dahil sa injuries nila. Pero nandiyan na sila,” said Malinay, who is tasked to monitor the fitness and conditioning of the Azkals.

Araneta, who is recuperating from a hip injury, has been doing light training exercises, while the rest of the Azkals did their daily workout at the newly renovated pitch of the Rizal Memorial Track Football Stadium starting last Monday.

The 29-year-old Araneta, who scored one of the Azkals’ three goals when they beat the Bangladesh Bengals, 3-0, said he could be back in training as early as next week.

Striker Phil Younghusband, who has fully recovered from a hamstring injury he suffered two months ago, and teammate Chllieffy Caligdong, have joined the team’s scrimmages at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex football pitch.

Caligdong reported for practice after missing last week’s training session, when he took part in the Philippine Air Force Youth Olympics at the Mactan Air Base.

The Azkals are slated to undergo a series of training camps in the provinces next week. They will be in Tacloban on May 21 to 22, Iloilo on May 23 to 25, and at the Plantation Bay in Cebu City on May 25 to 30. Source