Two wins away from reaching their Asian Cup dream, the Philippine Azkals feel they have achieved a “balance” in the lineup with both Manila-based players and Europe-born stars combining brilliantly in their bid for success.
But that won’t stop Azkals manager Dan Palami from further beefing up the side, especially if the team goes all the way to the Asian Cup in Australia in January.
The Azkals were slated to face host Maldives last night in the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup here with a victory putting them one step closer to the title and a spot in the Asian Cup.
“A lot of the plans this year will depend on how we fare here,” said Palami. “But we will have to expand even further our scouting activities just to check if there are still (overseas-born) Filipinos interested in the team.
“There were several players who expressed interest in this tournament that did not make it in time.”
The Azkals manager, who has been bankrolling the side since 2010, expressed satisfaction over what he felt was a “balance” in the quality of play being displayed by the squad, whose players come from different parts of the world.
“I think we have found that balance,” said Palami, stressing that seven Philippines-based players started in the 2-0 win over Turkmenistan in their last Group B game Saturday night.
Two of the players who started in the match are 19-year-olds Amani Aguinaldo, a central defender, and Daisuke Sato, a leftback, who both play for Global in the United Football League.
Coach Thomas Dooley heaped praises on the defensive duo who are playing in their first international tournament for the national team.
“It wasn’t a surprise for me how good they were,” said Dooley. “Amani is, maybe, one of the best centerbacks we have. For me, it was important to have somebody to be kind of killer at the back and he’s fast and strong.”
Dooley said Sato, who was part of the Urawa Reds Youth team in Japan, is an “incredible player for his age.”
“He plays like an experienced player and shows how much knowledge he has about the game, Dooley said, referring to Sato, who has started ahead of the veteran Dennis Cagara.
Improving the squad will always be a priority for Palami, who is already looking at camps abroad regardless of the result here.
“The Asian Cup is a different thing altogether,” said Palami. “But everything we do will always be geared towards having a successful team.”
papajamba: listening now to simone rota - across the line podcast
Sept 16, 2019 23:48:32 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: As long as Ricky Yanson is professional to Ceres FC and extends support to the Azkals in general (Ceres Azkals in particular) during home games, he can be PFF president in my book. Much better will be reconciling with Leo, though that idea is Farfetch'd.
Sept 21, 2019 23:07:36 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Kaya fans wishing that Ricky Yanson wins the PFF presidency is akin to GMA fans wishing that Congress and President Duterte will not renew ABS-CBN's franchise.
Oct 24, 2019 21:10:39 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: We will wait for the basketball and volleyball ASEAN teams and then we compare their reception to that given to the football delegations, where ALL ASEAN nations participate. Now there will be foreign scrutiny in every move of PHISGOC.
Nov 24, 2019 23:20:26 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: DDS trolls underestimated the SEA football community. Having no prior exposure to football culture, they dismiss any and all so-called sabotages as destabilization plots, to the point that they do not support the teams, especially the women.
Nov 27, 2019 15:25:36 GMT 8
Passerby: That's awkwardly worded.
Mar 6, 2020 21:09:41 GMT 8
Jun 3, 2020 11:29:52 GMT 8
nil: anyone have any ADT FC's contact?
Jun 3, 2020 11:30:08 GMT 8
Caz: Hey everyone! I hope you're all healthy and well! Philippine football is just about to pick itself up from these quarantine days so I'm looking forward to getting this forum up and running again!
Sept 27, 2020 0:39:31 GMT 8