Azkals in hard training for 2012 AFC Challenge Cup

By Dennis Gasgonia | ABS-CBN News |

Team manager Dan Palami hopes the friendly games lined up for the Philippine national team will be enough to fully prepare the Azkals for the 2012 Challenge Cup in Nepal.

The Azkals are currently in Dubai, where they will spend 10 days in training.

“Hopefully, the 3 games that we’ll play there plus the training camp will give us the necessary preparation for the Challenge Cup,” Palami said shortly after taking part in the Philippine Football Federation’s (PFF) contract signing with ABS-CBN Sports.

The Azkals will first face the Uzbekistan Olympic team on Saturday, after which they will play against Qatar Star League First Division in Doha.

On February 14, the Filipino squad will tackle Qatas Australia Under-23 in Dubai.

“These are three strong teams and hopefully will prepare us in Nepal,” said Palami.

Joining the Azkals in Dubai are Jason de Jong, Roland Mueller, Neil Etheridge and Ray Jonsson.

Already in the lineup are veterans Phil and James Younghusband, Rob Gier, Ian Araneta, Angel Guirado, Roel Gener, and Misagh Bahadoran, Jason Sabio, and Lexton Moy.

Under-23 players are: Joshua Beloya, Carli de Murga, Paolo Pascual, and Marwin Angeles.

New recruits are: Ruben Doctora, Fil-Spanish Angel Guirado, and Fil-German striker Denis Wolf.

Injured midfielder Chieffy Caligdong will also be joining the Azkals in light training sessions.

The 2012 Challenge Cup is set to take place in Nepal from March 8-19.

But before flying to Nepal, the Azkals will have to return first to Manila to play a friendly game against reigning Suzuki Cup champion Malaysia.

“That will be a total of four games prior to going to Challenge Cup,” said Palami.