MANILA (31 Jan 2012) – The Philippines national team have confirmed three friendly matches in their tour of the Middle East next month which will also include a match against the Australian Olympic team.
The Azkals will play their first friendly against Uzbekistan on 11 February 2012 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Oud Metha, Dubai before their second game two days later against Al Ahli Sports Club in Qatar.
They will then wrap up their trip with the third friendly game against the Australian Olympic squad on 16 February back in Dubai.
In the meantime, Philippines chief coach Michael Weiss said that the Azkals might have to go to the Middle East and the AFC Challenge Cup in March without several of their foreign-based players.
“Schröck is injured so he won’t come. Mulders, most likely he’ll not come. Maybe Ott, maybe de Jong, and maybe Jonsson. Lucena already confirmed he won’t come, he won’t be released by his club,” said Weiss this week.
“Cagara will get a decision from a German club in the Second League; if he gets a professional contract, I don’t see him come to Dubai and most likely our chances are also slim of him playing for the AFC Challenge Cup, but that remains open, I’m not sure about that yet. I also hope I can get (Fil-German Roland) Muller for the goalkeeper, maybe Neil (Etheridge), if he is available.
“The midfield is very crucial. We have a couple of choices but if no one’s available, that’s gonna be a problem, so we’re working on Chris Greatwich coming over for the Malaysia match (on 29 February). But if all those players are not available, we have to work with local-based players from the UFL but with limited training time, of course, it’s not easy.
“Overall, the situation right now, as far as the AFC Challenge Cup preparations is concerned, is far from ideal.”