AZKALS: Azkals Places Second In CTFA Invitational Tournament

07 DECEMBER 2017: MANILA – Azkals grabs second place in the recently concluded CTFA Invitational Tournament held in Taipei from December 1 to 5. In spite of an undermanned team, and three-day preparation – the quickly assembled Azkals composed of a few veterans, players from the U22 SEA Games squad and University stand out squeezed a second-place finish ahead of Timor Leste and Laos.
Most of the regular Azkals were not available because they we not released by their Clubs due to the PFL season is in its semi-finals stage. The CTFA Invitational Tournament dates are also outside of the FIFA dates so a number of call ups on foreign based Filipino players were not successful.
Asked about his reaction on Mr. Dan Palami’s description of the Azkals outing in Taipei as the Taiwan ‘debacle”, Mr. Jefferson Cheng, Team Manager says:
“If this is accurate, I am surprised with the comments of Dan (Mr. Palami). We are working for the same organisation which is the PFF, and representing one country, Our Country. I think a more encouraging and supportive stance will do more good for Philippine Football than complaining and maligning the players and coaches who did their best for their country. I think whoever makes these negative statements are being unfair. We ended up second place with 3 days preparation, the players were given the best organisation one can possibly do with the time, and logistics constraints we have plus the conflict that the CTFA Tournament have with the PFL schedule. 
My role is temporary as the PFF Secretary General asked for assistance because most of the Clubs with the regular Azkals players including Mr. Palami’s Global FC are in the PFL semi-finals hence the Clubs prioritise the League instead of the National Team that is why they did not release the players. The regular Azkals Coach Thomas Dooley also had a very important previous commitment to speak in an AFC event representing the PFF.
Mr. Palami suggested certain players, we contacted them even bought them airline tickets but they did not come for some reason.

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During the Tournament were some calls and red cards that did not go our way which could have changed the complexion of the games and the result of the Tournament. I am not offering any excuses as there are none needed. The Players and Coaches did their best and what is important is they were there on the field fighting. We had three days to prepare and the players coming in from a long hectic PFL schedule, a 2nd place finish is descent under the circumstances.
We should draw our attention to the positives. We may not have won the tournament but the winner here is Philippine Football. The exposure given to our younger players was the right thing to do. Just ask Miyagi from Cebu, who scored his first international goal with the Senior National Team, ask what the Cebuano football fans think about that. Or Gayoso from Ateneo who had his first cap. What about the sight of the younger players playing alongside their Idols! The senior players mentoring and leading the younger ones was a very good and encouraging thing to see. I think this is what team sports are all about. This experience of our younger players will only encourage and bring more fans, supporters and followers to our National Team and Philippine Football.  Importante magtulungan tayo.”

Azkals Share Points with Yemen, Remains on Top of Group F

The Philippine Azkals are among the national teams in action this international break as they continue their campaign to make it to the 2019 AFC Asia Cup.
The Azkals faced a very familiar foe in Yemen. A team they have been grouped with during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
This time, both teams slug it out for Group F’s top spot. A position which is very important to be in, since only the top 2 teams of each group will qualify for Asia’s premier football competition 2 years from now.
The match against Yemen was held in Qatar where a good number of Filipinos were in attendance to support the Azkals. Both teams had great share of possession. Etheridge though, seemed to be the busier keeper as the Yemenis had great chances throughout the game.
In the 63rd minute, Yemen scored the game’s opening goal after a scramble right in front of the Azkals goal. From thereon, the Azkals created better chances. The Filipinos were keen to equalize and share the points with Yemen. Time wasn’t on their side but they kept pushing, until Paul Mulders found Mike Ott who easily found the back of the net in the 89th minute of the match.
It was a huge relief for the Azkals since they knew that if they gave the win away, Yemen would take the group’s top spot.
The Azkals will face Nepal next. The game is scheduled to take place on November 14 and will be an away match for our national team.

PH Azkals succumbs to DPR Korea in a friendly game

Photo by Carmelo Culvera 

The Philippine Azkals still could not find the perfect rhythm as they lost another tune-up game, this time against DPR Korea, 3-1, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Monday, October 10.

Azkals also lost their friendly game against Bahrain last week, 3-1, wherein Mike Ott made his debut goal.

Still defenseless, the Azkals were left scoreless at halftime, 0-2, as Pak Kwang Ryong scored at the 11th minute via header and followed by a Pak Song Chol goal at the 38th minute.

At the second half, the North Koreans made sure that they would come up with a vengeance against the Filipino booters as Jong Il-Gwan hit another goal at the 67th minute of the regulation.

And as the rain started to pour harder in the second half, the Filipinos find a way to score through Ilain Ramsay to cut down the Korean lead to two, 1-3.

The Azkals became more aggressive, getting more shot attempts, but failed to convert some of it as they left the field bowing down to the gritty North Koreans.

On their last meeting, Azkals dismayed DPR Korea, 3-2, in Manila.

Next tune-up game for the Azkals will be against Kyrgyzstan on November 9, before they enter the Suzuki Cup on November 19.

Match Analysis Technology Helping Develop Soccer in the Philippines

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – Since Thomas Dooley was appointed Head Coach the Philippines men’s national soccer (football) team has had some impressive results and attained its highest ever FIFA ranking.  Aiming even higher and with an objective to achieve a finals appearance in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup followed by qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup the Philippines Football Federation recently rewarded Dooley with a two-year contract extension.
In addition to the skills, knowledge and experience the former United States team captain has brought to the role, a major addition having a direct impact on the team’s improvement has been his implementation of new systems and technology. This has included California-based Match Analysis’s state of the art video and statistical analysis product suite that has successfully been adopted by the Azkals.  
The new and more in depth analysis program provides coaching staff and players with access to Mambo Studio and Tango Online. These cutting edge tools enable them to collectively or autonomously analyze performance as part of their development. They also receive individual meetings where they review their own data and video clips along with team meetings during which:
1. Opponents are analyzed to discuss expected line-ups, along with video clips reviewed of individual players to identify strengths and weaknesses and what to expect from their opponents
2. The Azkals players are shown video clips to improve knowledge and provide a greater insight into the tactical aspect of the game
“A significant change that has had a major impact on our progress has been the implementation of Match Analysis’s products and services. Their tools are unbelievably powerful and yet extremely easy to use by players and staff. They have become an invaluable asset in making our pre and post-match analysis process much more efficient and cultivating the long term development of soccer in the Philippines. It really is like having another full time coach in our organization, freeing up time allowing me to work on other important aspects of improving our program,” said Thomas Dooley.
Commenting on how Match Analysis products are used to enhance the Philippines men’s national soccer team the Head Coach said “Tango Online is excellent for players to scout their opponent in the palm of their hand online, 24/7. They get to know their opponents as well as they know their own teammates! Also, Mambo Studio video editing software is really easy to use and allows me to communicate with my players worldwide by sending customized video clips to player’s mobile devices. I can even encode my text message into the video so the player understands why I’m sending the clip. If the player wants to download the video clip, it’s simple, they just click on the Tango ToGo icon!  It’s a fast and efficient way of getting the message across. Providing players with better knowledge of the game along with greater insight into the opposition reduces errors and improves us as individuals and a team.”
 Thomas Dooley

Philippines Men’s National Team Head Coach

“I love the Philippines and its people. It’s a beautiful country where everyone is so friendly and always wanting to help, so it makes me immensely happy that they have a soccer team to be proud of,” added the Azkals Head Coach. “Performances and results are consistently improving down to the player’s hard work and dedication to enhance their skill levels and gain a better understanding of the technical parts of the game. With the structure we are putting in place and the implementation of technology, soccer in the Philippines will go from strength to strength and help support its future development.”
“It is fantastic that the Philippines men’s national teams’ coaching and playing staff have embraced Match Analysis products. We are delighted to provide the tools that Thomas has incorporated to create a more professional structure that is bearing fruit with their greater success on the pitch,” said Match Analysis President Mark Brunkhart. “Having known Thomas for a number of years I am really pleased that he’s been rewarded with a longer term contract. We look forward to supporting him with his aspirations to develop the overall foundations of soccer throughout the Philippines.”    

Match Analysis Product Portfolio

Mambo Studio: state-of-the-art video search and retrieval
K2 Panoramic Video: continuous corner-to-corner video of every inch of the field
K2 TrueView Visualizations: interactive touch panel visualizations and player tracking directly within the video itself
Tango Online: comprehensive online analytical and video library accessible by coaches and players
Tango ToGo: a direct to mobile communication tool allowing coaches to send clips and comments to players instantly
Tango Livemonitor every player, every pass, every touch, all in real time
Tango Broadcaststorylines, live data and stats with stunning in-game graphics
About Match Analysis

Match Analysis is the leading pioneer in high performance analytical tools for soccer (football). Over the past decade, Match Analysis has worked with almost every top club in North America and top media outlets including the New York Times World Cup coverage. In 2013, Match Analysis’s K2 Panoramic Video Camera System was implemented in every stadium in Major League Soccer and Liga MX.
Current Match Analysis clients include all 18 Liga MX clubs in Mexico, 17 MLS clubs, the Mexican national team, and a wide array of college and amateur sides. Match Analysis offers a comprehensive suite of tools and services including video indexing and archiving, statistical analysis, live data collection, player tracking, fitness reports and performance analysis.

Thoughts On The Azkals’ 0-2 Loss To Bahrain

The Philippines’ chances to advance to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers took a serious blow when they lost to Bahrain, 2-0. It was a very lackluster performance by the Azkals, who never seemed in control of the game.
Here are my three key impressions from the match.
Boy, did we need Javier Patino tonight.
While a player like Phil Younghusband used to be enough to make opposing defenses in South East Asia nervous, he is now playing against teams who are used to a much higher level of competition. That’s one major reason for Phil Younghusband’s recent goal drought (the other being his changed role on the team) and why Javier Patino is now even more important to the Azkals’ fortunes.   But while Phil Younghusband may have been found lacking, he still played well. Just not good enough to be the main man that he used to be.
In this game, it was Stephan Schrock who starred for the Azkals, who continually pressed the Bahraini defense, and who was able to get into most dangerous places. Unfortunately, every one else seemed out of sync and Shrock’s effort went to naught.
The Azkals also need improved play from players like Patrick Reichelt and Kevin Ingreso, who are getting a lot of chances because of the unavailability of other players. In today’s match, they barely made their presence felt, which became even more noticeable when the entry of players like Misagh Bahadoran and Paul Mulders suddenly made the Azkals attack more potent and energetic.

Our old reliable backline was really getting old and the time has come to make the transition to a younger one. So I’m not going to make too much of a fuss about our backline composed of youngsters like Daisuke Sato and Amani Aguinaldo, especially with Jerry Lucena still there as a veteran presence and Stephan Palla as the exciting newcomer.

But I do have to say that sometime between the first and second goals, I started wishing Rob Gier and Juani Guirado were there on the pitch, stabilizing our defense. It’s something that goes with experience and pitch knowledge. Sometimes, you can’t keep on making up for your teammate’s mistakes. Sometimes, you all have to man up and take care of your patch of ground. The backline of Gier, Guirado and Lucena used to specialize in that. There were rarely any mistakes to cover up so they each just staked their defensive claim on their patch of the field and threw every challenge back.
Between the sticks, Neil Etheridge gets a solid B+. He made no mistakes, made two great saves and was generally in control. Unfortunately, the Azkals’ defensive lapses kept putting Etheridge in no-man’s land and he paid dearly with the first goal. The second goal was just pure genius from Bahrain’s Adnan Hussain, and no one could be blamed for that. Not Bahadoran, who gave up the foul so close to the goal, nor the Azkals wall which jumped high to deny the over-the-top kick, nor Etheridge, who tried to make a diving save.
It could have been the extreme change in weather. And the long journey. And the change in time zone. And the toll of playing two hard fought, high quality matches in just a week’s time. For whatever reason, the Azkals team tonight looked tired right from the very start.
While the Bahrainis were pressing wildly all over the field, the Azkals played with more control. However, that control soon turned into passiveness, as they kept losing balls to the Bahrainis and kept losing their marks when Bahrain pressed their attack.
The Azkals were actually very lucky tonight, because the Bahrainis didn’t have their shooting touch either. In the first half alone, Bahrain screwed up two 1-on-1 situations with Etheridge, first shooting the ball wide, then shooting it over the bar. There were another 3 instances in the second half when Bahrain could have scored but screwed it up instead. Those instances came with the Azkals defense caught sleeping or worse, walking back when they should have been running back.
Believe me, we were lucky to get away with a 0-2 loss. It could just as easily have been a 0-5 loss.
 What does this mean for us? Well, our path to the next stage has become like a lottery. Miniscule chances of winning but, if everything goes our way (losses by Uzbekistan and North Korea will be topmost among the things that need to go our way), there’s still a chance. However, much like the lottery, I really wouldn’t go bet on it.
But I still think our next few games will be important and crucial. These will provide our team (and especially our youngsters) with big game experience that may help us qualify in the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
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We wish to advise all football enthusiasts that the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia (TM) – Asian Qualifiers / AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 (TM) Qualifiers (Round 2) match between the Philippines and DPR Korea will be held on 8 October 2015 at the Stadium Kim Il Sung Pyongyang (PRK), DPR Korea. Kick off is at 4:00 p.m local time.
We invite all to show their support to our Men’s National Team. This message is coming from the Philippine Footbal Federation. 

We need to learn from this and take the lessons to the next game – Azkals

We need to learn from this and take the lessons to the next game - Azkals

Learning experience.

This was how Azkals coach Thomas Dooley assessed the defeat of the Philippine national football team against Uzbekistan Tuesday night in a 2018 World Cup qualifying game at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“We had a bad day, they (Uzbeks) had a good day,” Dooley said.

He said the defeat in the hands of the 76th ranked Uzbekistan is not a reason for the Azkals to feel down and give up.

“We need to go on and play. We don’t have to give up. We should be fine,” he added.

Dooley said they will analyze the game where they allowed the Uzbeks to score five goals, determine what went wrong “and then move forward.”

“There is something we have to learn and develop (after this defeat) and next we have to step up. We need to learn from this and take the lessons to the next game,” he pointed out.

The Azkals, now with two wins and one loss, will face North Korea in Pyongyang on Oct. 8. and Bahrain in Manama on Oct. 13.

Despite the strong rains in Metro Manila and Bulacan which started late in the afternoon and flooded certain portions of the metropolis and brought traffic to a standstill, more than 7,500 fans showed up to cheer on the Azkals.

The turnout was 25 percent higher than the attendance recorded during the Azkals’ game against Bahrain in the stadium last June.

Observers said had the weather cooperated, turnout could hit 8,000 considering the high-profile and extensive hype weeks before the match, including tweets and messages of support from well-known sports, movie and political personalities.

The hashtag Azkals also trended on Twitter a few days before the much-anticipated game

Azkals vs Uzbekistan in a couple of days! Do you already have tickets

Uzbekistan vs Azkals

The Philippine Azkals’ caliber will finally be put to the test when they faced a highly-favored Uzbekistan at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
After winning their first two World Cup qualifying matches against Bahrain and Yemen and a tune-up game with Maldives last week, the Azkals are going into the competition with momentum and confidence on their side.
Uzbekistan, on the other hand, got a shocker when it lost its first match against North Korea in June but came back to overcome Yemen, 1-0, last September 4 in Tashkent.
Both Azkals coach Thomas Dooley and team manager Dan Palami refused to give a prediction except to say the Philippine national football team will give a good fight against the Uzbeks, who are ranked 76th in the FIFA rankings. The Azkals are ranked 125th.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” Palami has declared, while Dooley said “we have a great team that is playing good football.” This is the first time the Philippine Azkals will be playing the Uzbeks.
Uzbekistan is considered a tough squad and one of the best teams in Asia along with football powerhouses Iran, South Korea, Japan, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and China.
But Azkals players like Phil Younghusband, the team captain, and Misagh Bahadoran, who scored in both their matches against Bahrain and Yemen, are confident the team will beat Uzbekistan.
They said the team has several experienced players with exposure to international competitions and the chemistry and relationships among the members are good.
The hype to the upcoming Azkals-Uzbeks matchup has also reached new heights in Philippine sports with senators, actresses, TV hosts and a Fil-American mixed martial arts star calling on Filipinos to watch the game live and cheer on the Philippine team as well as to buy tickets as early as possible.
Among those who appealed for support for the Azkals were Senators Pia Cayetano and Sonny Angara, actresses and TV hosts Coleen Garcia and Karylle, TV personality Ryan Bang, MMA star Brandon Vera, and talk show Atty. Karen Jimeno.
“Suportahan natin ang ating mga kababayan na Azkals sa darating na September 8. They will be competing at the Philippine Sports Stadium against Uzbekistan,” Karylle has said.
Even multi-awarded actress and TV host Kris Aquino, who has thousands of followers, was seen wearing the pink Azkals shirt on her Instagram account.
The hashtag Azkals has also trended on Twitter last Sept. 3, with at least 216,000 tweets at one point, indicating that the publicity to the forthcoming match has hit a crescendo on social media.
To compensate fans for the efforts to watch the game live, ticket holders could gain free entrance after the game to the hip The Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and experience Vegas style clubbing.
There are several routes going to the venue in Bocaue, Bulacan. For Metro Manila fans with private vehicles, they can enter NLEX through Balintawak and go past Valenzuela, Meycauayan and Marilao exits. After Marilao exit, keep right to use the shoulder road leading to the entrance to Ciudad de Victoria where the Philippine Sports Stadium is located.
For those who will use the Mindanao Smart Connect entrance to NLEX, go straight north and after Marilao exit, keep right and use the right shoulder to enter Ciudad de Victoria

Azkals beat Maldives in a tune-up game, Can they beat Uzbekistan on September 8?

Azkals beat Maldives in a tune-up game, Can they beat Uzbekistan on September 8?

Cautiously optimistic.
This was the latest term used by Azkals manager Dan Palami as he assessed the Philippine national football team’s chances four days before the all-important game against a motivated Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
For his part, Azkals coach Thomas Dooley remained grounded, telling the Azkals that Uzbekistan is a strong team with players exposed to top level matches in Europe and Asia.
“We are up against a team that is in 76th place (in the FIFA rankings) with players who have regional experience,” Palami said. The Azkals are ranked 125th in the August FIFA rankings.      
He said some players of Uzbekistan are playing in regional football leagues with strong teams, giving them formidable experience and exposure to tough competition. One of the Uzbek players, Server Djeparov, is a two-time Asian footballer of the year, while others play in Russian football clubs like Odil Akhmedov and Vitaliy Denisov.
Based on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website, Uzbekistan is considered one of the best football teams in Asia along with football powerhouses Iran, South Korea, Japan, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and China.
Palami said in order to win, the Azkals should “capitalize on chances afforded to them” during the match. “They (players) should be focused and disciplined and utilize strong defense against the Uzbeks.”
He revealed that they have studied the video of the Uzbeks’ game against the North Koreans last June 16 where the latter surprised the former, 4-2. In the AFC Asian Cup in January this year, Uzbekistan beat North Korea, 1-0, in Sydney, Australia.
Dooley said the Uzbeks would be highly motivated going into the match with the Azkals to make up for their surprise defeat in the hands of the North Koreans.
“I told them (Azkals) the Uzbeks have international experience and technically good and have members who played in Asian and Russian leagues,” Dooley said as he emphasized the need not to be overconfident.
He said the Azkals should not allow the Uzbeks to score first or it would be difficult for the team to recover.
He expressed confidence the Azkals players would be giving their best in Tuesday’s match. “They have been working hard and playing good football.”
“We have a great team where everybody works for everybody,” he added.
Dooley admitted that the Azkals did not give their all-out during the friendly match against Maldives last Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex to avoid unnecessary injuries. The Azkals won, 2-0.
Although Uzbekistan has never qualified for the World Cup finals, it is a regular participant in the AFC Asian Cup and has consistently been the strongest team out of the new countries of Central Asia following the collapse of the former USSR.

Fans that will watch the Azkals vs Uzbekistan live will give the team a boost!

Fans that will watch the Azkals vs Uzbekistan live will give the team a boost!
With less than a week before the pivotal match against a strong Uzbekistan squad, the Philippine national football team, popularly known as Azkals, is appealing to Filipinos to show up at the game venue and cheer for the team.
Azkals coach Thomas Dooley and players Phil Younghusband, Neil Etheridge and Misagh Bahadoran said the fans’ presence and cheers will motivate and spur on the team and have an impact on their game. They were interviewed after a late afternoon to early evening practice session last Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
The Azkals-Uzbeks match will be held on September 8 at 8 p.m. at the world-class Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, as part of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Dooley acknowledged the difficulty of getting to the venue but said the fans could make the effort in order to boost and give their support to the national team.
“I love to see you guys during the game. It’s very important for us to win this match,” Dooley said as he stressed that the national team is preparing hard for the game.
He hinted that the fans will not get disappointed when they watch the Azkals play live.
“We have a great team. Everybody is working for everybody.”
“We have a game plan, we have skilled players, we have a better plan, hopefully (we will win),” Dooley added.
Dooley said he always reminds the players to stay fit. “I told our players fitness is everything. It’s not me but the players. I give direction but in the end they have to execute the plays.”
Etheridge, one of the goalkeepers of Azkals, said “it will be a fantastic experience if the fans are out there cheering.”
Etheridge, a Filipino-British who has lots of international experience playing in front of big crowds, said it’s a lot different if fans are spurring on the players.
“The players get fired up (if fans are cheering and applauding). Please come and support us,” he said.
Younghusband, the captain and one of the pillars of the Azkals team, said the fans’ cheers always make a difference. “Please come and watch us. Please buy tickets.”
He said seeing the fans celebrating and shouting gives confidence to the players and boosts their adrenaline. “Hopefully people will turn out.”
Younghusband said Uzbekistan is strong team and that they have to step up the level of their game as he noted that the Uzbeks are 50 places about the Azkals in the FIFA rankings.
But what’s going in favor of the Azkals team, Younghusband said, is the international experience of the players as well as their chemistry and good relationships.
“The (Azkals team members) have played high level across the world. They are bringing their competitive experience to the game,” he said.
When asked for his prediction, Younghusband quipped: “One-nil (in our favor).”

Bahadoran, a Filipino-Iranian who is playing right striker and midfielder, appealed to the fans “to come and support us. We will not disappoint you.”
Bahadoran, who scored goals in both the Azkals’ games with Bahrain and Yemen, is confident they will win against Uzbekistan. “It’s 2-1 in our favor,” he said.
He said the team members are in a confident mood and the atmosphere energizes everybody.
Ticket holders of the Philippine Azkals-Uzbekistan match on September 8 are also entitled to a free entrance after the game at the hip The Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and experience Vegas style clubbing.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

Azkals vs Uzbekistan ticket holder will get free pass at the Palace Pool Club!

Azkals vs Uzbekistan ticket holder will get free pass at the Palace Pool Club!

31 August 2015 – ManilaTicket holders of the Philippine Azkals-Uzbekistan match on September 8 are entitled to a free entrance after the game at the hip The Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and experience Vegas style clubbing.
The game is considered crucial for the Philippine national football team as it is gunning for its third straight win in the qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. A win by the Azkals will bring them closer to the next round in 2016 and a chance to qualify for the world’s widely watched sporting event.
“We need the support of football fans and non-fans alike to cheer for the Azkals during this important match,” Dan Palami, Azkals team manager, said.
The Palace Pool Club, which is located at 9th Avenue corner 36th Street, is the country’s first day and pool club. It is similar to clubs like Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in Las Vegas with cabanas, daybeds,
For guests who will use the club’s two swimming pools, locker rooms, shower areas and a towel bar are available.
For those who opt not to take a dip can watch performances at the stage, hang out at the bar area or at The Brewery, which has draft beers from all over the world, or the DJ booth at the stage. 
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3.

Watch, Coleen Garcia wants you to watch the Azkals game on Sept 8

With just more than a week to go before the much-anticipated Azkals-Uzbeks match on8, movie industry personalities have joined the call for Filipinos to support the Philippine national football team as it guns for its third straight win in the ongoing qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
In separate messages, TV hosts and actresses Coleen Garcia and Karylle and TV personality Ryan Bang called on people to watch the exciting game and buy their tickets now.
Their call came after Azkals players Juan Luis Guirado, Dennis Villanueva, Iain Ramsay, Daisuke Sato and Kenshiro Michael Daniels guested in the noontime show “It’s Showtime” on ABS-CBN.
“Suportahan natin ang ating mga kababayan na Azkals sa darating na September 8. They will be competing at the Philippine Sports Stadium against Uzbekistan,” Karylle said.
She also mentioned that ticket holders will get a free entrance to the Palace Pool Club in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig after the match.
Coleen, who incidentally is niece of player Juani Guirado, said tickets to the game are already on sale at Ticketworld and urged fans to get hold of one now.
Meanwhile, former professional basketball player and now sports radio anchor Freddie Webb said Filipinos have more chance of excelling in football than in basketball.
He said football does not require tall players and the height of Filipinos is suited to the game.
Kickoff time of the Azkals-Uzbeks game is at The Philippine Sports Stadium is located in Bocaue, Bulacan, and is directly accessible through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). The stadium is also accessible through public transport from various directions.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3.

Coleen Azkals:

Karylle Azkals:


Azkals must win in order to further increase football’s awareness in the country.

Azkals must win in order to further increase football’s awareness in the country.

The Philippine Azkals must rack up more wins not only to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but also to increase football’s awareness in the country.
“We feel the pressure of winning not only to qualify (for the World Cup) but also for awareness of the sport in the country,” Azkals manager Dan Palami said. 
“We help the sport by winning. The more popular football gets, the more kids play the sport. More players mean more support for the sport and hopefully, the national team,” Palami stressed.
Palami’s dream is to ignite a football passion in the Philippines and make the sport a national obsession similar to other countries.
He said he wants to produce homegrown talents who would inspire more young people to play football and propel the country’s pride.
“We also need to create a passionate fan base to fuel the sport,” he added.
To achieve this, Palami needed to walk the talk, thus his all-out support for and unwavering commitment to the national football team, which is beginning to bear fruit.
Through his efforts, as well as those of other football officials, the Philippine Azkals have come a long way in their attempt to boost the country’s stock in football in the last five years.
From struggling to even qualify for the group stages of the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Azkals have chalked up huge wins, including their first two victories in World Cup qualifiers.
And with another big game against Uzbekistan looming large, the Azkals are determined to put in a good show to once again raise the profile of the sport in the country.
Palami has been backing the team since the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan in January 2010. Since then, the Azkals have chalked up one major achievement after another, reaching the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup three times. 
The Azkals also came within a whisker of playing in the AFC Asian Cup last year, losing out to Palestine in the Challenge Cup finals that served as the qualifier for the final spot in the tournament. 
After impressive wins over Bahrain (2-1) and Yemen (2-0) in their first two outings in World Cup qualifiers, the Azkals also reached their highest FIFA ranking of 124 last July.
What has made this run even more remarkable has been the Azkals’ performance. Showing confidence on the ball and improving their finishing, the Azkals have become attacking threat more than ever.
A win against the Uzbeks on Sept. 8 at Philippine Sports Stadium could prove crucial in their bid to reach the third round. “We need all the support we can get against Uzbekistan. We have to protect our homefield,” Palami said.
“They may have lost to North Korea, but we still think they are the strongest team in the group,” he added. The Uzbeks fell to North Korea, 2-4, in their first game in Pyongyang last June. That win gave North Korea top spot in the group with six points, ahead of the Azkals on goal difference.
The top team in the group will advance to the next round while the four best second-placed teams from among the eight groups in qualifying will also move on, while claiming a spot in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.
“We can’t be complacent after our two wins,” Palami added.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

AZKALS VS. UZBEKISTAN: will be a different viewing experience for fans not only here in the Philippines but also abroad.

AZKALS VS. UZBEKISTAN: will be a different viewing experience for fans not only here in the Philippines but also abroad,

25 August 2015 – ManilaThe Philippine Azkals are working doubly hard as they try to seek their third win when they face Uzbekistan onSeptember 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, in the ongoing qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“We need all the support we can get because it’s a tough match,” Azkals team manager Dan Palami said. “We need to work doubly hard to get a result against Uzbekistan.”
Facing the top-ranked team in Group H, the Azkals hope to draw strength from home supporters as they seek their third victory in the competition.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. on Sept. 8.
Palami said the Azkals’ feat during their last two games was impressive and that they just need to keep up that high level of performance to score an upset against Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is gaining reputation among foreign football fans as a world-class sporting hub because of the ultramodern Philippine Sports Stadium where the Azkals’ home games for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are being held.
Football fans from countries that will be playing in the stadium will get a chance to view on their TV sets, laptop computers or mobile gadgets the stadium’s state-of-the-art facilities when their teams play with the Philippine Azkals.
“It will be a different viewing experience for fans not only here in the Philippines but also abroad,” Palami said.
The first World Cup qualifier held at the stadium was last June 11 between the Philippine Azkals and Bahrain which the former won, 2-1.
The Philippine Sports Stadium, which is owned by the Iglesia Ni Cristo, is the largest football stadium in the country with a football seating capacity of 20,000.
The stature of the Philippines as a sporting mecca will always get a boost everytime an international football game is played in the stadium, he said.
Fans watching remotely will be viewing a newly-painted stadium with colors that still gleam, a well-lighted playing field within a blue track, and an electronic scoreboard on either end.
For fans watching live at the stadium, they will see facilities and amenities that are new, premises that are spick-and-span, seats with wheelchair access and functioning washrooms.      
The football field has a 103 x 68 meters size with a natural grass surface, another plus for the stadium.
Azkals coach Thomas Dooley has earlier described the stadium as “beautiful” while Azkals players have only good words for the playing field’s natural grass surface.
“It feels different to play on grass,” said one Azkals player while another declared that “I’m really happy we have this place. Playing on the grass is worlds different.” The Rizal Memorial Football Stadium where the previous Azkals games were held uses artificial grass.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

Even politicians are excited to see the upcoming Azkals game on September 8

Even politicians are excited to see the upcoming Azkals game on September 8

22 August 2015 – Manila: Two senators have added fire to the growing excitement being generated by the approaching World Cup qualifying match between the Philippines and Uzbekistan on September 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
In separate tweets, Senators Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano made known their interest in the forthcoming match, with the latter calling on fans to support the Philippine national football team during games.
“Let’s support our Azkals in the World Cup qualifiers, esp in their hometown matches!” Cayetano tweeted to her 401,900 followers and attached a link to a Philippine Star article.
Angara tweeted to his over 70,000 followers “#azkals gearing up for #WorldCupQualifiers on #sept8 at the #philstadium.”
Earlier, mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Fil-Am Brandon Vera also tweeted to urge fans to support the Azkals and watch the game onSeptember 8.
Dan Palami, Philippine Azkals team manager, expressed appreciation over the support being given by well-known personalities to the national football team.
“The Azkals need all the support not only from football fans but also from well-meaning citizens to motivate them to give their best when they face a tough Uzbeks team,” he said.
The Azkals have won their first two World Cup qualifying matches against Bahrain, 2-1, and Yemen, 2-0. They are eyeing a third win against Uzbekistan but Palami has acknowledged that the Uzbeks are a formidable opponent.
The Uzbeks are the top seed in Group H where the Philippines is bracketed but they lost to the North Koreans last June 16.
Uzbekistan ranks 75th, the highest ranked team in the group, while the Philippines is ranked 125th, its highest place in the history of the FIFA rankings.

Azkals Update: Who are the replacements of defender Rob Gier, forward Mark Hartmann and goalkeeper Tomas Trigo?

Azkals Update: Who are the  replacements of defender Rob Gier, forward Mark Hartmann and goalkeeper Tomas Trigo?
There will be changes in the composition of the Philippine Azkals when they face Uzbekistan in their FIFA World Cup qualifier match on Sept. 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The Philippine Football Federation has added three new players to replace defender Rob Gier, forward Mark Hartmann and goalkeeper Tomas Trigo. Gier was put on the back burner because of a knee injury while Hartmann and Trigo were taken out.
The three new players are Filipino-German goalkeeper Roland Muller, Filipino-Dutch midfielder Paul Mulders and United Football League (UFL) team Global FC goalkeeper Jun-jun Badelic of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
Muller joined the Philippine national’s team training in 2011 and was eventually named in the final 20-man squad for the 2011 Long Teng Cup and the provisional Philippines under-23 squad for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
In 2013, he was named to the Philippine squad for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualification campaign, which he helped qualify. Muller’s last played for the Azkals in the 2014 Peace Cup.
Mulders was a free agent in July 2013 and lent his services to the Global FC team to boost their campaign for the Singapore Cup. On January 20, 2014, Mulders signed an amateur deal with Dutch football club SC Cambuur playing in the Dutch Eredivisie until the end of the season.
Mulders played in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup and presently he is playing for Ceres La Salle FC in the UFL.
Badelic played a year of NCAA football with Emilio Aguinaldo. He came on as a late substitute for Global in their tune-up game against the Azkals before the Suzuki Cup. He played in the AFC Under-23 Championships and the 2015 Southeast Asian Games.
The team will play a friendly match against Maldives on September 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium before meeting the Uzbeks onSeptember 8 in a crucial qualifying game for the 2018 World Cup.
Completing the Azkals squad are Amani Aguinaldo, Misagh Bahadoran, Kenshiro Daniels, Patrick Deyto, Neil Etherdige, Juani Guirado, Kevin Ingreso, Jerry Lucena, Manny Ott, Stephan Palla, Javier Patiño, Iain Ramsay, Patrick Reichelt, Simone Rota, Daisuke Sato, Stephan Schrock, Martin Steuble, Dennis Villanueva, Luke Woodland, and Phil Younghusband.

Azkals, Pampanga-born Fil-Iranian, midfielder Misagh Bahadoran is feeling the pressure

Fil-Iranian, midfielder Misagh Bahadoran

12 August 2015 – Manila: With the crucial Azkals game against a strong Uzbekistan squad less than a month away, one Azkals player who is feeling the pressure is Filipino-Iranian midfielder Misagh Bahadoran.
Although nobody is putting the pressure on him, Bahadoran feels he has to bring his game one notch higher than his outstanding performances in the last two Azkals games where he nailed the team’s first goal against Bahrain and five days later against Yemen in the ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifiers.   
The two wins gave the Philippines six points, second after North Korea in Group H. North Korea is leading the group having scored one more goal (5-4) than the Philippines in two matches.
“The expectation (on me) is high. The pressure is there. It’s harder being in that position now,” Bahadoran said in an interview after a morning training session at the Emperador Stadium in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. His goal against previous Azkals tormentor Bahrain last June 11 was doubly significant for him as it was his first international goal in football.
But being no stranger to pressure in the past, Bahadoran appears ready for the demands building up around him presently. He acknowledges that the ongoing games are tougher being part of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world.
“I have to be prepared, physically and mentally. I have to be disciplined,” he stressed.
The Pampanga-born Fil-Iranian, who is also a vital cog in the United Football League team Global FC, trains everyday, making sure that he is not only sharp with his striking and dribbling but also physically fit, and shuns unnecessary distractions as much as possible, to the point that he remains girlfriend-less for the past nine months.
“I don’t go out with friends. I don’t have a night life. I just want to focus on my football,” Bahadoran said, pointing out that football is his entertainment and happiness.
The absence of distractions makes him more focused during practice and games and it is the reason why he remains “single” for nine months now. 
He admitted that the hectic training schedule, commitments as a budding businessman, model and endorser and constant travel abroad for games make it hard for him to give enough time to his lovelife.
His last girlfriend was a Persian and a dentist by profession but their relationship had suffered because of his busy schedule. Without saying it, he had to give up his romantic liaison for his other love, football. 
Bahadoran also does not go out with friends nor does he watch the movies as he prefers the comfort of home. At home he lies in bed for that needed rest and recovery from a weary training session day and stays on the phone “for two hours.”
If positive attitude before games is the barometer for the quality performance of a player, Bahadoran will surely score 100 percent.
He specifically shuns negative thoughts and negative people and conditions his mind to win before any game.
“I don’t want to talk about negativity, especially if there is a game. It’s important to be prepared mentally,” Bahadoran said.
That’s why it’s very important for him who his roommate will be before any game.  “My roommate is important to me because he is the one I will be talking to before the game.”
“You need motivation, not someone who will talk about problems or negative things. You need to talk how to win, how to fight, this prepares me mentally and makes me strong,” he stressed.
His advice to young people getting into football? “If you have a dream, dream big and follow your dream, work hard, and don’t give up.”
He said anybody can become a football player but what sets the outstanding players apart is their hard work, discipline and the time put into practice. “Some have talents, some work harder, anybody can be a football player but it’s how hard you work towards achieving it that will set you apart. Work harder, be disciplined, train everyday, make sacrifice, and listen to your coach,” Bahadoran said.

Brandon Vera is an Azkals fan! Check out his facebook post!


Brandon Vera is an Azkals fan! Check out his message to
10 August 2015 – Manila: Mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar Brandon Vera has called on followers and football fans to support the upcoming match between the Philippine Azkals and Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Vera, who has more than 221,000 followers on Facebook alone, posted: “Azkals vs Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at the Philippine Arena (referring to Philippine Sports Stadium). Watch it live!!! Ousss!!!!!” He accompanied it with the hashtags #WorldCupQualifier #pinoypride.
Vera has made a successful ONE Championship (ONE FC) debut last December when he stopped Ukrainian Igor Subora at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena. He used to fight under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster.
The Sept. 8 match is crucial as it could determine Azkals’ standing in Group H and its chances in the ongoing qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Philippines, with two wins, is currently in second place in Group H with six points behind North Korea, which is leading on account of having scored one more goal (5-4) than the Azkals in two matches.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

What Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband hopes for when they face Uzbekistan?

Phil Younghusband hopes for Azkals when they face Uzbekistan
     Photo Courtesy: Anton Sheker 


6 August 2015 – Manila: Facing their toughest test yet, Philippine Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband hopes the team can carry the momentum of the two early victories in the World Cup Qualifiers when they go up against powerhouse Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at Philippine Sports Stadium.
The Azkals stunned Middle East powerhouse Bahrain, 2-1, at home, before blanking Yemen, 2-0, in Doha, Qatar last June 17 to gain a share of the lead with North Korea in Group H, considered as one of the toughest groups of the tournament that also serves as a qualifier for the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE.
“We are in a good position after the two wins, but more importantly, we have some confidence going forward,” said Younghusband, the country’s leading international scorer with 42 goals, who turned 28 last Monday.
“There are no easy games in this group. We know we would need to play better and work harder against Uzbekistan.”
The Azkals achieved their highest ranking of 124 last month but the Uzbeks are still ranked 49 notches higher at No. 75 by Fifa with some of their standouts playing in Russia.
The top team in the group will secure a place in the third round together with the four best second placers from among the eight brackets.
The 12 teams in the third round will also gain automatic slots to the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. Asia has been allotted four spots in the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia which means the top two from each of the brackets in the third round will qualify.
Under coach Thomas Dooley, the Azkals thrived despite playing a new formation with Younghusband needing to adjust following his switch from striker to attacking midfielder.
The switch allows Younghusband to see more of the ball, giving him attacking freedom which proved key in setting up the goals against Bahrain.
“There are a few players that are not playing in their natural positions, but we got players who can adapt and I think that’s good for the team,” Younghusband added.
The skipper sees the Azkals getting better with more games playing with their new system. The team had three new players in Iain Ramsay, Stephan Palla and Luke Woodland inserted into the starting lineup against Yemen.
“It is not easy to learn a formation within such a short period of time,” Younghusband said, pointing out that the Azkals only had less than two weeks to work together before the Bahrain match last June. “But the new players have made the team stronger and it gives you more confidence knowing you have these players on your team. It’s all about everyone giving 100 percent.”



2 August 2015 – Manila: Philippine Azkals coach Thomas Dooley believes he has formed a squad that will take the country to greater heights against some of Asia’s finest teams in the World Cup Qualifiers.
Now on his second year at the helm of the team, the German-American mentor finally found the best mix of players to banner the country’s bid particularly in the qualifying tournament for football’s most prestigious tournament.

Working closely with Azkals manager Dan Palami, Dooley infused some fresh talent to the team by calling up Luke Woodland, Stephan Palla, Kevin Ingreso and Iain Ramsay for the games against Bahrain and Yemen last June.
The entry of the four players coincided with the return of Stephan Schrock, Neil Etheridge and Javier Patino as well as the resurgence of Misagh Bahadoran who already has two goals in the first two matches.
Midfielder Manny Ott has also improved immensely under Dooley’s reign, while Phil Younghusband remained effective even after the coach switched him from striker to midfielder.

The Azkals’ results have been impressive with a 2-1 home win over Bahrain followed by a 2-0 conquest of Yemen in Qatar in the first two match days in Group H.

“We have a unique team with unique players for each position and they all have unbelievable skill,” said Dooley, who captained the United States in the 1998 World Cup in France.

“What I’m asking from the players is to go 90 minutes with 100 percent of their skill level but always on the collective.”

Dooley added, “We’re trying to build a team and in the last two games we saw that we created the team that we need to be successful.”

The Philippines faces Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at Philippine Sports Stadium, before flying out for a couple of away matches in Pyongyang against North Korea on Oct. 8 and in Manama for a duel against Bahrain five days later.
The top team in the group will secure a place in the third round together with the four best second placers from among the eight brackets. The 12 teams in the third round will also gain automatic slots to the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. Asia has been allotted four spots in the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia which means the top two from each of the brackets in the third round will qualify. 

Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

Azkals wants you to support their home game against Uzbekistan, tickets details!




21 July 2015  Manila: The Philippine national football team is scheduled to play only three more games in the country in the ongoing qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as the rest of its matches will be held outside the Philippines.
“Let’s take advantage of the hometown matches by watching the Azkals play in person. The Azkals will be playing for the country’s honor. The fans’ support will count a lot,” Team Manager Dan Palami said.
The next Azkals game is scheduled on September 8 against a tough Uzbekistan squad at the spanking Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. Kickoff time is at 8 p.m.
Palami said playing before a home crowd will be motivating for the Azkals, especially if the players see the all-out support of fans turning up in droves for the games.
“We are fortunate to see our Azkals playing more home games, unlike in the 2011 qualifiers where they had only two home games,” he said. 
For the ongoing World Cup qualifiers, the Azkals were lined up to play four games in the Philippines — with the first game already held last June 11 against Bahrain at the Philippine Sports Stadium — and another four games outside the country under a round robin format. The first home away game of the Azkals happened last June 17 in Doha, Qatar, when it trounced Yemen, 2-0.
After the September 8 game against Uzbekistan, the next Azkals matches in the country are on November 12, 2015, against Yemen and onMarch 29 next year against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), both at the Philippine Sports Stadium.
The rest of the Azkals games scheduled outside of the country are on October 8, 2015, against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Pyongyang; on October 13, 2015, against Bahrain in Manama, and on March 24 next year against Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
There are eight groups with five teams each. The top team in each group plus the four second-best teams to be determined by goal difference across all groups will advance to the next round. The Philippines, Uzbekistan, People’s Republic of Korea, Bahrain, and Yemen are in Group H.
The 12 teams will compete in the 2016 qualifiers, which will determine the final group for the World Cup in 2018 to be held in Russia. The 12 teams will also automatically qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup.
“Our ultimate goal is to play in the World Cup, the most followed sporting event worldwide and which is every nation’s dream,” Palami said.
Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

Philippines Azkals vs Uzbekistan at the Philippine Arena details


Philippines Azkals vs Uzbekistan at the Philippine Arena details

Photo Courtesy: Anton Sheker/
The Philippine Azkals will face a hardened and experienced Uzbekistan squad on Sept. 8, a game that would test the mettle of the newly-minted and strongest ever roster of overseas- and local-based professional footballers.  

“We need the support of Filipino football enthusiasts and even non-football fans to fill up the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, and applaud and inspire our players to give their best for the country,” Team Manager Dan Palami said.

Opened on July 21 last year, the world class Philippine Sports Stadium is the newest and largest stadium in the Philippines with a maximum football seating capacity of 20,000. Located within a tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue, it is bordered by the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) itself and easily accessible by private or public transport. Travel time is less than an hour from most parts of Metro Manila as the site is just after Marilao and before Bocaue with direct access exit along NLEX.

Holding the game at the Philippine Sports Stadium will also allow spectators to experience first class facilities and ultra modern surroundings and see the 103 x 68 meters football field with natural grass surface, he said.
The much-awaited match, which is part of the Asian qualifiers of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, starts at 8 p.m., giving football aficionados and non-aficionados enough time to catch the first kick.
“There’s no better way to push our Azkals to play at the top of their game, score goals and impose a high-pressure defense on the opponents than the thunderous applause, encouraging shouts of fans and electric atmosphere in the stadium,” Coach Tom Dooley said.

He said Uzbekistan, which ranks 75th in the recent FIFA rankings and the highest ranked team in its group, is a formidable opponent and has been burnishing its credentials as genuine title contenders in Asia. The Uzbeks have a good showing in the tough Asian Cup with back-to-back quarter-final appearances in 2004 and 2007 and a fourth place finish in Qatar in 2011.

Talking about determination to make it to the FIFA World Cup in 2018, Uzbekistan has lots of it since host Russia is just next door and it wants nothing short of qualification for its first ever World Cup.

The Azkals, on the other hand, are ranked 124th, so far their highest place in the history of the FIFA rankings. They also dislodged Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand (140th) and Vietnam (143rd) in the recent rankings.

“The team is very motivated to end the qualifying round at the top of the group to be able to move a step closer to the World Cup. It’s an uphill goal but we will do our best to achieve it,” Palami said. Landing as one of the four best second place finishers in the qualifying round will likewise enable the team to make the cut to the next round of the World Cup.   

He believed that the team has assembled the strongest Azkals roster ever with the addition of highly experienced Filipinos playing abroad and some returnees.

The good showing of the Azkals in their first two outings indicated the impressive line-up is living up to its billings. The Azkals defeated Bahrain for the first time, 2-1, at home last June 11 then thrashed Yemen, 2-0, on the road last June 16. A win against Uzbekistan onSeptember 8 will help advance the team to the next round in the World Cup qualifiers and also book an automatic slot in the next AFC Asian Cup.

Tickets for the Azkals vs. Uzbekistan game to be held at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8, 2015 are now available at  Tickets are at P531.80 for Price Zone 1, P331.14 for Price Zone 2 and P125.40 for Price Zone 3. 

Little Azkals Movie Trailer

The Philippine Football team Azkals’ miraculous winnings in Asia started a wave for the country that we too can eye for the most coveted World Cup. 

For the first time in history, The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has launched a search for the next Philippine Azkals who will undergo training for the 2019 World Cup qualifier.

More than 1000 boys from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao tried their lucks. Only 22 are selected. 

This documentary film is a story of dreams.

Directed by Baby Ruth Villarama
Edited & Produced by Chuck Gutierrez
Sound by Mike Idioma
Original Music by Von de Guzman

Thumbs Up: CLEAR Dream Match for the Flood Victims

I don’t usually write about football but this sports event is worth posting, after all its a local Football event, and you know I support local sports. The Sports event features two of our top players who helped reinvigorate football in the nation, I hope you still remember the Azkals fever. 
Together with sponsors, Phil and James Younghusband  brings football legends to play with them in the upcoming Clear Dream Match that will be held tomorrow evening, August, 24, 2013 at the University of Makati Stadium.
Football have seen a steady growth in the country and Clear and the Younghusband’s are committed to maintaining it by bringing in two football legends, international football stars Fabio Cannavaro, a former World Cup champion, and Dennis Wise, a longtime captain of Chelsea FC and a member of the England national team will be playing against each other this Saturday.
Many Football fans should not miss this event not only because it features two international football stars and their favorite football players from our very own football league (UFL) but because the organizer have decided to make the event a none profit, meaning the sales of the event will be a split 50/50 share between Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation, the original beneficiary of the event and now they added that they will give the rest of the sales to the flood victims of Typhoon Maring, who recently spread havoc to the nation capital and parts of Luzon. 
Thumbs up for making the right decision and for caring, I am personally inviting my readers to come and see this event live so they can both enjoy the thrills of football and help flood victims  at the same time. 
Please see details below:
When: 24 AUGUST 2013 SATURDAY 7:00PM
Ticker Prices are: 100 and 800 pesos, 500 are sold out – click here 

Azkals vs Myanmar, Video Highlights, to Suzuki Cup semifinals

Azkals historic win over Myanmar and back into Suzuki Cup semifinals. That is great news for the sports that is trying to maintain it’s mainstream popularity in the Philippines. The Azkals win their match against the Myanmar FC with a 2 – 0 victory. The Philippines is not consider to be the best football club yet in the world not even in Asia but they are enjoying every moment of success and popularity. Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado scored the points for the Philippines. Azkals will play Singapore next on December 8 at Rizal Memorial Stadium in the Philippines, then they will visit Singapore to play them again December 12. Azkals vs Myanmar video highlights below.