The Philippine Azkals are set for a training camp in Qatar as part of their preparations for the Joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asia Cup qualifiers in China next month.
The camp, which will be hosted by the Qatar Football Association, will be held from May 18-31 in Doha before heading to Suzhou, China.
“We have communicated with the Qatar Football Association to host our team for a training camp in Qatar,” said Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta during a virtual presser on Wednesday. “As you know very well, it’s so hard to train in the Philippines right now. so we have decided to do the training camp in Qatar.”
The Azkals will be comprised of a 26-man pool in Doha, according to team manager Dan Palami.
The team is also slated to play friendlies against Palestine and Syria during the camp.
“We’re lucky other teams are there also so we can have the friendly matches before we go to China,” Araneta said. “And China is also arranging for the flights of the Group A teams to emanate from Qatar so ideally, we should be in Qatar doing the training camp.” The Azkals, who are currently third in Group A with seven points, will face Guam, host China and Maldives in the centralized bubble.
We are fortunate that the PFF President Araneta's position in the AFC and close ties to the AFC leadership and the Qatar FA has provided the opportunity for the Azkal's to train in Qatar in preparation for the final games in this stage of the WC/AC qualifiers especially with the travel restrictions brought on by the COVID pandemic.
Coach Cooper: "Thanks goodness the (Philippine Football Federation) president and the general secretary have pulled the stops out and got us a training camp that gives us a good chance.”
Apparently the Chinese national football team are recruiting 5 naturalized players to their team so the Philippines has their work cut out for them to get past China in June in order to make the next stage of the WC qualifiers.
They include naturalized Brazilian players Elkson, Fernandinho, and Alan Carvalho and Brit players Tyias Browning and Nicholas Harry Yennaris.
It is looking that they will not get Maranon's naturalization papers in time for the June WC qualifiers.
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano Araneta said the naturalization process of Marañon has yet to be approved as it was not transmitted by the Congress to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We have been facing challenges in preparing the men’s national team and we were hoping that the urgency of our situation would have made the process of Bienve’s naturalization faster,” Araneta said on Tuesday night.
“But with the current situation, we are facing the prospect of not having Bienve in the team for the remaining matches, considering the numerous requirements he has to comply with before he can suit up for the country,” he added.
Araneta, however, said that the PFF is still looking forward to having the United City Football Club striker represent the national men’s football team in their future tournaments.
“We understand the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the process which may have stalled Bienve’s papers in Congress. We remain patient and hopeful that Bienvenido Marañon can join the national team in the future,” Araneta said.
Veterans Stephan Schrock and Neil Etheridge headline the 25-man squad called up for the training camp in Doha, Qatar and the three remaining matches in the joint Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in Suzhou, China.
The Azkals are holding a training camp in Doha, Qatar from May 22 to May 31, 2021, before flying to China for their matches against Guam (June 3), China (June 9) and the Maldives (June 15).
“Stephan Schrock and Etheridge are the core of this team in terms of the commitment and the things they do to talk to other players,” said Cooper.
The Manila-based players are scheduled to leave for Doha on Friday morning, while the rest of the squad are arriving on different flights from Thailand, Germany, Malaysia and the United States, among others, in the succeeding days.
Although they are still completing requirements for their registration, Gerrit Holtmann, Jesper Nyholm, Raphael Obermair, and Lloyd Fagerlie have also been called up by coach Scott Cooper.
Cooper did not select naturalization candidate Bienve Marañon and Jesse Curran as both are not able to process their documents in time for the trip. But he expects the duo to be part of the team in the future.
FORWARDS Mark Hartmann Angel Guirado
MIDFIELDERS Stephan Schrock (CAPTAIN) Patrick Strauss Iain Ramsay Gerrit Holtmann Raphael Obermair Patrick Reichelt Oliver Bias Jarvey Gayoso Matthew Baldisimo Mark Winhoffer Lloyd Fagerlie
DEFENDERS Carlie De Murga Alvaro Silva Luke Woodland Jesper Nyholm Martin Steuble Jefferson Tabinas Mar Diano Niko De Vera Michael Kempter
GOALKEEPERS Neil Etheridge (VICE-CAPTAIN) Bernd Schipman Kevin Ray Mendoza
The Covid bubble in China really puts the Philippines at a disadvantage. I think the Chinese realize the important of their match against the Philippines.
"The Azkals might sit second in their group, but the odds are stacked against them. Goal differential, not head-to-head records, is the first tiebreaker, and China (+11) has that over the Philippines. And all three games are being played in a bubble in Suzhou, China, because of COVID-19 restrictions. And even though no fans are being allowed for any other game, there will be attendance at the China-Philippines match on June 9.
“I’m not sure that the word parity is something that they’re very familiar with over there,” Cooper mused. “The way this group’s working out is really a massive disadvantage. From our perspective, it’s a very new squad and a young squad. We’re trying to build for the next Asian Cup, which is the ASEAN big tournament watched by millions here. And then we’ll build towards the 2026 World Cup. So we have a more of a long-term plan, but we also see a short-term success story that is in front of us. Even though the chips are against us, we’re still going to give it a try.”
Out of the eight groups in the Asia confederation, the group winners will advance to the next round, as well as four or five of the second place teams, depending on how well Qatar does. So the way for the Philippines to advance is as a second place team.
This means: 1. beating China, Guam and Maldives, and being one of the best 4 or 5 second place teams 2. draw with China, beating Guam and Maldives, and Syria with a win or draw against China. And then being one of the best 4 or 5 second place teams.
Syria dropping points is actually undesirable. It would be best if they beat China.
A lot of stars need to be aligned for those scenarios. It's still within reach, I think.
Right it is a tall mountain to climb but it is doable if we get the right breaks.
Not having Marañon at forward is a blow to the Philippines though. They were hoping he can provide the goals needed to overcome China.
China playing all their games at home as host because of Covid is also a big advantage for them especially with China tilting the rules in their favor and allowing a home crowd specifically for the Philippine match.
Because of the goal differential in China's favor, I think the only way the Philippines can advance to the next stage of the World Cup is by beating China and hoping Syria draws or beats China.
Without Patino and Maranon, our forward lineup is pretty shallow. We do have a very deep midfield though so they might use a player like Holtmann, Obermair or Reichelt in one of the forward positions.
Holtmann has experience in the Bundesliga and even scored against Dortmund when he was there. He now plays in the 2 Bundesliga.
Our defense esp at centerback which used to be a problem for us is now a strength with plenty of solid options at every position and with the dependable Etheridge continuing to man the goal we are all set on defence.
An online post from Filipino football said that Jesper is not coming. Is it just for the training camp or also for the upcoming matches?
Jesper told me awhile ago that he isn't sure he will be able to participate this time since he just came back from a severe career threatening injury(along with the life threatening post surgical infection that developed) which sidelined him for nearly 2 years which he still is trying to recover from both mentally and physically.
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