By Olmin Leyba
Moving forward after a numbing 3-4 loss to the United Football League (UFL) All-Stars in a recent test match, the Philippine Azkals look ahead to playing more competitive tune-up games as a “complete” team in next week’s training camp in Germany.
“We need more games like that which are played with high pressure,” team manager Dan Palami said after an erratic Azkals dropped the game serving as part of buildup for their Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifier against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo and July 3 in Manila.
“We learned one lesson in that game – you get punished for your mistake,” he said, referring to a couple defensive lapses that UFL converted into goals.
Palami said that friendly match was more for sake of the new recruits such as Fil-Am striker Nathan Burkey, Fil-Am centerback James Rochlitz, Fil-Iranian Misagh Bahadora, and Fil-Dutch attacking midfield Paul Mulders.
“So they’ll be exposed to higher-level games (with the team),” he said, adding that only four of the team’s starters actually played in the duel with UFL.
The new faces will join Neil Etheridge, Manuel Ott, Rob Geir, Angel Aldeguer Guirado, Roy Jonsson, Jerry Lucena, Stephan Schrock, Ian Araneta, Aly Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdong, Anton del Rosario, Roel Gener, Nestor Margarse, Edward Sacapano, Jason Sabio, Ricardo Becite, Phil and James Younghusband and Dennis Cagara in the Phl XI roster set to hold camp in Germany.
Europe-based stalwarts like Fil-Spanish Aldeguer Guirado and Fil-British Geir, who are absent in the Manila training sessions, will head straight to Germany for the Azkals’ camp slated June 12-26.
While there, the 23-man crew will play four to five matches against German clubs, working on their cohesion and chemistry at the same time.
“We’re looking forward to training camp in Germany and playing against second, third division teams. Definitely this will help us considering we lack competitions in the Philippines. More competitions can only make you better,” said co-skipper Borromeo.
Swiss goalkeeping coach Pascal Zuberbuhler, according to Palami, will also hook up with the team in Germany.
“He couldn’t come to Manila, having just signed with a Swiss club, which might need his services there. He would just meet us in Germany,” Palami said.
The Azkals will be encamped in Germany for two weeks and fly straight to Colombo for the first leg. The Philippine Star