by Daryl Lagos
The Philippines build-up towards the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 has reached one of it's 'Periodic Exams" battling Bahrain to a 0-0 Draw in Manama before slightly losing 2-1 to the home side Kuwait.
The Azkals did not entirely fielded the lineup who won the Philippine Peace Cup 2012 but did have the Younghusbands, Guirado Brothers, Lucena, Cagara, Jonsson, Mulders, Muller & Neil Etheridge for Kuwait which proved to be a handful for both middle eastern countries to just hammer away a win on the Philippines.
We are trying to get what we like to call in the music industry the "Final Mix" for our ultimate goal this year, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 out of the deep bench in the Azkals disposal.
The draw in Bahrain proved to be a substantial result against a team that used to be 44 in the world! GCC Champions & Arab Champions in 2011 and is always a force to reckon with in the Middle East & Asia.
Kuwait proved to be a step ahead exhibiting speed, stamina and fitness. Sitting at 112 world wide, Al-Asraq proved to be a bench mark for the country to break. The regular gulf champions has kept the Philippines from advancing in last year's world cup qualification.
The Azkals exhibited discipline and class throughout the field & game and even proving hard to crack easily on defense. The Philippines did not settle for an all defensive action without counter attacks or trying to set up a formation to get a win unlike our previous match in Kuwait.
I can see Angel Guirado, Dennis Wolf, Phil Younghusband in the Kuwait match battling with their defensive match ups to get on the score sheet, the Mid-Field was on war and our Goal Keepers in both matches were highly up to the challenge.
Roland Muller highlighted a great save from a Bahrain attack the could have been the most dangerous for the Azkals. Neil Etheridge was more than outstanding and produced one of the best goal keeping for the nationals I have seen so far, multiple saves from several attacks and what capped it off was a penalty effort saved from a Kuwaiti striker and yet again saving the rebound only seconds right after.
His loan to the pirates kept him sharp and focused. I once said to myself, Bristol Rovers has the entire Philippines guarding their goal now.
3 Stars and a Sun!
You can never take away anything from the team against these 2 countries. We even won a lot of respect and experience. OFWs in particular are ecstatic to see our team go head to head with the host countries, because for them it is not just football but playing for their pride, honor and recognition.
Many might not have seen this part of the pitch but the not only did our team came there, they saw the people who looked up to them and conquered the notion that one day we will be there to win a game and prove Filipinos are truly up to the global challenge in and out of the pitch.
I admire that people on Twitterverse that has already learned the importance of not only producing goals in match, its every little thing that should come together as an entire piece, an entire team.
Decisions are made by the coaches & management based on how they become to see it and people are starting to appreciate the bigger picture. Healthy and constructive arguments that results to deepening relationships between the supporters and football.
A lost or a draw cannot just dictate the massive improvements we have come upon till this date. We still lack some cohesion, but just a little bit of tweaking here and there we will get that engine running.
I am pleased with the Azkals experience in the Middle East!
by Daryl Lagos
The victory could not have been so much sweeter when the nation of basketball crazy population have waited 99 years to be declared winners of an international footballing event.
It was in the Far Eastern Games (ASIAN GAMES) 1913 when the Philippines had last won gold.
There was no loss on record for the Azkals in the Philippines Peace Cup 2012.
The likes of Macau, Guam and Chinese Taipei were a fair test for team that is preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012. The most prestigious ASEAN Cup ever! It is also the same event back in 2010 that saw the Philippines rise from the ashes.
The championship night was sealed off by goals from Dennis Santos Wolf, Skipper Chieffy Caligdong and OJ Porteria. This is also the 1st win over final's rival Chinese Taipei in 7 Clashes.
The Azkals played class in all 3 matches that in turned sealed them to sweep the entire tournament.
This also reflected in the awarding ceremony that saw Dennis Wolf, as the Golden Boot Awardee & Most Valuable Player, Mathew Uy was declared the best Mid-Fielder while Jeff Christiaens taking home best defender award.
Eduard Sacapano hailed as the best Goalkeeper taking command in the absence of GK Neil Etheridge & Roland Muller. All these players came from the Philippine National Football team.
Shining through the night was the trophy for the Champions that was also won by the Philippines.
Though a minor tournament, Azkals Coach Weiss was confident that this win will boost the national side's confidence in competing to what he would call as the "Climax" of these entire preparation..The AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 in November.
FIFA has also released the World Rankings that now sees the Philippines at 147, 21st in Asia, and 3rd in South East Asia.
This has been the nation's highest rank in history...yet.
Great Shots by Anton Sheker
The Azkals coming off a strengthening process after reaching historical milestones such as the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 3rd place finish are approaching an almost new phase in their preparations for the the region's most prestigious tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012.
The Philippines started off with a draw in Cambodia, 0-0 Score line last Wednesday did not really reflect the story that went with it. We had the upper hand as to controlling the match tempo and creating chances but was just not able to finish with a goal. Quite unlucky too as we could have scored but it's either the post saving it for Cambodia, or us missing it an inch wide and hitting it a little off target. The pitch was horrible and as if it was not meant to be for us...rain made it even more worst. No argument, many people said that we could have done better but this is football.
One big revelation however, is the quality shown by Filipino-Belgian Patrick Reichelt who came in as a impact-sub in the later half.
Expectations are high but these friendlies are tests for the team to know where and when to put on the needed adjustments. Winning is great, but the journey towards it is even greater.
Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 saw the Azkals battling regional football powerhouse Singapore. The Philippines twisting history again by defeating The Lions 2 - 0 in what many would describe as a glimpse of our potentials best displayed. Bob Guerrero would account this win for the Philippines as the 1st in the last 40 Years. FIFA would revealed our country defeating Singapore in 1972 with the same score.
Chieffy Caligdong scored in the 1st goal creating a shot for himself at 8' minute mark, followed by a precise curve shot by Phil Younghusband for the 2nd goal in the 48' minute at the 2nd half. Our defenders being led by Rob Gier, Jason Sabio, Carli De Murga and Jeffrey Christiaens were solid to help fend off Singapore's attack providing much needed defensive cover for our No.1 GK Neil Etherdige at the post.
The arrival of Filipino-German Stephan Schrock and playing along side with the team Vs Singapore is one big boost for the Philippines. Schrock was involved in a number of visionary passing that helped scored both goals. An assist to Chieffy and a great ball to set Phil Younghusband made a lot of difference. Stephan would then say that he is just a small piece of the team and that everyone played a great game.
Everyone has been waiting for the most formidable Azkals squad ever, but the hardship of trying to get our best team is always a work in progress since many of them still play for their European clubs. Having get them to play together for a short period is a leisure for both the country and the management but it is never impossible.
The Azkals is now enjoying a little bit more flexibility in trying to field the best squad in every match. The move of Fil-Europeans like Jason De Jong, Dennis Wolf and Patrick Reichelt for instance to our United Football League (UFL) is instrumental to the success of the national team. Younger players are influenced and more Filipinos are taking on the challenge than ever before with the emergence of professional football in the country.
A young 9 year old Filipino kid Sandro Reyes has been accepted to Barcelona's Futbol Escola, the development of our grass root programs and the recent partnership of DEPed & PFF. The many more undiscovered young Filipino talents in the country with football genes waiting to be polished...the future looks promising.
The Philippines National Football Team is now on its 3rd and final ASEAN 3-Nation tour in Laos. They will play a friendly game with the host country on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The Azkals will miss the services of Phil & James Younghusband which is due to a very important family commitment, while Jerry Lucena has been recalled by his club, the final line up for LAOS is listed below from the Official Site.
The following national team players have been called up for the friendly against Laos on September 10, 2012.
Goalkeepers: Neil Leonard Etheridge, Eduard Sacapano, Ref Delany Cuaresma
Defenders: David Mark Basa, Robert James Gier, Jason Abbott Sabio, Carlos Alberto Martinez de Murga, Roel Gener
Midfielders: Marwin Angeles, Marvin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Emelio Caligdong, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason Nicolas Maria De Jong, Nestorio Margarse Jr., Paul Mulders, Jose Elmer Porteria, Andres Crisanto Gonzales, Patrick Reichelt, Stephan Schrock
Forwards: Ian Araneta, Denis Wolf
By Daryl Lagos
Many are chosen, but only 3 made it to the Global Top 100 from the UK National Finals and top 4 was UK Born Filipino, Curt Dizon.
I bought a NIke mercurial shoes about 4 months ago and saw on the tag that came in with the shoes was "Get The Chance - Register" I had no clue that it will truly be something awesome until I heard about Nike's football camp across countries all over the world.
In the UK draft of 5000 entries, Curt Dizon made his cut to the top 50 and 28, It must have been crazy just having to think about this young man's experience in the football camp that was not set for training...but rather a competition.
Curt is seen in this picture 2nd from the right on a bottom row.
This article will give you a personal insight on Curt Dizon written by J. Henson
UK-BORN PINOY SEES AZKALS TRY-OUT
The Video will tour your around the Nike: Chance - UK National Finals, Curt Dizon making a goal with a curve strike to top it off.
Fulham's Neil Etheridge admits his chances at Craven Cottage are limited but is happy to learn from Mark Schwarzer and David Stockdale.
The Filipino shot-stopper admits his chances of securing regular first-team football in the near future are unlikely, due to the quality of the two men ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, the 22-year-old feels working alongside Australian international Schwarzer and Stockdale can only aid his development and Etheridge is happy to play the waiting game at Fulham.
He told the club's official website: "It's great for my development working with guys like Mark Schwarzer and David Stockdale.
"They're two great goalkeepers and it's obviously great working with them. Stocko has been on the fringes of the England squad and people don't need to say how good Schwarzey is as a goalkeeper.
"He's nearly reached 100 caps for his country and he's been playing in the Premier League for 14 years. Stocko still learns from Mark and obviously I'm learning from Mark as well, but everyone has their own style of play.
"When you've got 'keepers of their calibre ahead of you it's hard to get the opportunity [to play] but it makes you work that little bit harder. Not that you need any extra motivation, but it does make you work that little bit harder because you've got great goalkeepers in front of you."
| Original Post |
Kathmandu: The Philippines ended an impressive 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign in third place as Phil Younghusband's double propelled the Azkals to a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Palestine in an absorbing encounter between the two beaten semi-finalists. Youngusband took his individual tally to five as the Azkals took the lead with just four minutes into Monday's meeting at the Dashrath Stadium before Abdulhamid Abuhabib's sweetly-struck right-foot curler drew Palestine level in the 20th minute.
The Philippines reclaimed their advantage from the penalty spot just four minutes later as Younghusband scored his sixth of the campaign before Angel Guirado, returning after missing the semi-final through suspension, made it 3-1 just before the break.
Abuhabib closed the gap with his second of the match in the 67th minute only for Juan Guirado to restore the Philippines' two-goal cushion two minutes later.
Fahed Attal scored Palestine's third and although the West Asians pushed hard for the leveller the Philippines held out for the 4-3 win.
The Philippines got off to a blistering start when an intelligent ball from skipper Emelio Calgdong released Younghusband down the left flank and the 24-year-old cut inside towards goal and skilfully escaped the attention of two defenders before firing low past Palestine captain Ramzi Saleh for his first of the match.
Palestine should have drawn level three minutes later when Husam Abusalah sprung the Philippines offside trap to release Fahed Attal but he missed the chance to extend his record as he mishit his shot with only keeper Eduardo Sacapano, who was coming in for the suspended Neil Etheridge, to beat.
A lapse in concentration at the back from Khaled Mahdi, one of just four players in the Palestine squad that featured in the goalless draw with the Philippines in the qualifiers, gave Paul Mulders a golden opportunity to double the Azkals' advantage but Saleh did well to block the ADO Den Haag winger's shot with his leg.
A period of Palestine pressure followed, with Khader Abuhammad off-target from the same area as Attal's earlier miss before Mohammed Mohammed showed some deft skills to fashion a shooting opportunity only to see his 19th minute effort cannon off the crossbar.
The deserved equaliser did come a minute later with Abdulhamid Abuhabib curling the ball superbly into the top corner only for all their good work to be undone in the 24th minute, when Caligdong was tripped in the box allowing Younghusband to confidently slam home his sixth of the tournament from the penalty spot.
With four minutes of the half remaining Angel Guirado got in behind the Palestine defence and easily slipped the ball past the advancing Saleh for the Azkals' third as the Philippines took a commanding lead into the interval.
Marwin Angeles replaced injured skipper Caligdong in the second half with James Younghusband, also back from suspension, taking over the captain's armband.
Neither side was able to really test their opponent's keeper in the first 20 minutes of the second period but when there was finally a shot on target it was made to count with Palestine drawing level in the 67th minute.
The ball was worked across the face of the Philippines' penalty area, finding its way to the unmarked Abuhabib, who lashed home his second of the match.
But again, the Philippines hit back almost immediately, when good build-up play from James Younghusband and Angel Guirado sent Angel's brother Juan through on goal and the 32-year-old coolly slotted the ball past Saleh to make it 4-2 in the 69th minute.
Palestine reduced the deficit less than ten minutes later when Attal scored his ninth AFC Challenge Cup goal after the Philippines failed to clear the ball before Abuhabib was denied his hat-trick and the equaliser in the 81st minute thanks to a fine reflex save from Sacapano.
Palestine pushed hard to get back on level terms but the Philippines were not be denied the win in an epic conclusion to their 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign.