By Cheska D. Geli
The Philippine national football team gears up for another challenge when it faces neighboring countries in the Long Teng Cup at Kaoshiong, Chinese Taipei on Sept. 28 to Oct. 4.
Team manager Dan Palami said the national team will take on the host, Macau and Hong Kong’s under-23 team and possibly Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia after the three nations were invited by the organizers.
Palami said the Azkals lineup will be a mixed selection of senior players and under-23 members depending on the availability of players.
Most of the members of the senior team are on a one-month break and the players are scheduled to gather in the third week of August.
After the Long Teng Cup, the under-23 players will be back in the Philippines to train for the Southeast Asian Games, while the senior team will be bound for the Middle East to play against Gulf countries.
“”We are still arranging the games for the friendly. There still no definite country yet,” said Palami.
Aside from the matches outside the country, the Philippine team is tentatively booked to play a friendly against Nepal on Oct. 9.
There are also negotiations for a friendly game against Pakistan and India.
Palami said that all the friendly games will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium since the pitch at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod needs to be improved.
Palami mentioned that his team will be open to playing in an exhibition match with the Cebuano selection team upon invitation of Ricky Ballesteros for friendly game after the rehabilitation of the football field of the Cebu City Sports Center.
“Of course we want to, we’re interested. But there should be a good venue because it’s very different to schedule events if walang venue,” Palami said. Published in SunStar Cebu