Etheridge, Schrock to join Azkals on Singapore and Nepal friendlies

By Olmin Leyba

The Philippine men’s football team Azkals will host Nepal in a Fifa friendly under lights on Oct. 11 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta said Nepal, ranked higher at 136th than the Azkals (162nd), accepted the PFF’s invitation to come over to Manila for a friendly, the second assignment for Phl XI during the “Fifa match calendar days.”

The Azkals and Singapore (129th) earlier set a friendly on Oct. 7 but this will be staged at the Lions’ turf at Jalan Besar Stadium.

“We’ll now have two friendlies, one in Singapore and one here against Nepal. We’ll see how we’ll fare against them,” said Araneta.

“What’s important is the Azkals will parade a complete team (including the Europe and US-based players) and the more games they play together, the better,” he added.

Fil-foreigners like Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara will be available for the friendlies as clubs all over the world are inclined to release players to their national teams from Oct. 6-11, the period Fifa designated for international friendlies.

The Azkals will likewise take advantage of the friendlies to try to earn ranking points, bidding to boost their standing among football-playing nations in the world.

The Singapore Lions will play Phl XI as part of preparations for their campaign in the third round of the Fifa World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Like the Azkals, the Nepal booters have already bowed out of the World Cup preliminaries, having lost to Jordan, 1-10, in their second-round duel.

The PFF will be selling tickets to the Azkals-Nepal friendly, which will kick off at 7 p.m., to generate proceeds as according to Araneta, the federation will shoulder the accommodation of the visiting side and partially spend for their airfare. Published in The Philippine Star