Selasa, 08 Februari 2011
Philippine Azkals vs. Mongolian Blue Wolves on Studio 23
The Philippine Azkals are out to show what they’re made of as they collide with the Mongolian football team on Wednesday in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifier at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
More than 15,000 Filipino fans are expected to pack the stadium to see the Azkals play against the Mongolian line up in what is considered by many as the biggest football match in the Philippines in years.
The Azkals have become the darling of Filipino sports fans following their feat in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
The Philippine team’s German coach, Hans Michael Weiss, said his boys are raring to give their best in front of their country men.
“They have experience in Indonesia, Vietnam and now they at last, looking to play for their own crowd... playing a good match,” said Weiss.
The other side of a home court advantage, however, is the pressure the Azkals will still have to contend with to win and keep up with the rising expectations of their followers.
Coach Weiss said he kept on reminding the Azkals not to let their popularity get into their heads and to remain determined even against “easy opponents”.
The Azkals ranked 152nd while Mongolia is at 182nd, according to FIFA or Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) .
"Of course the Philippines is stronger, they (Azkals) are much higher than our position [in the FIFA rankings] but any team playing in the field... always aim to win,” said Mongolia media officer, Gantuga Bulgan.
The Mongolians, nicknamed as the Blue Wolves, arrived in Bacolod City on Monday after a week of training in Guangzhou, China.
The Blue Wolves assured football fans of a great game ahead.
Weiss said it is crucial for the Azkals to win the first leg in the home-and-away qualifying series.
“To win the first leg is important in qualifying,” he said. “Mongolia have been inactive for the past couple of years and they come from cold weather, so we will try to catch them out by pushing forward and trying to score goals early on.”
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) also reminded Filipino fans who will watch the games in Panaad Stadium to wear white t-shirts in support for the Azkals.
Making up the Azkals’ final line up are:
· Aly Borromeo
· Eduard Sacapano
· Neil Etheridge
· Anton del Rosario
· Jerry Barbaso
· Kim Relucio
· Joebel Bermejo
· Rob Gier
· Ray Jonnson
· Nestorio Margarse
· Emilio Caligdong
· Simon Greatwich
· Peter Jaugan
· Mark Ferrer
· James Younghusband
· Reymark Palmes
· Jason de Jong
· Patrick Hinrichsen
· Jason Sabio
· Phil Younghusband
· and Ian Araneta
The Philippine Azkals have become so popular that FIFA or Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Federation of Association Football) has taken notice.
In fact, FIFA.com featured the team on its front page.
The game between the Philippine Azkals and Mongolia will be aired live in the Philippines courtesy of Studio 23. It will be aired live starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9,2011.
The replay of the game will be on BALLS Sky Cable channel 34 on February 10, 2011, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and on February 13,2011, Sunday at 6p.m..