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Old March 8th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by johnmizer View Post
so why does he have to return to fulham if he wont play? from wot Ive heard in ph media is that australian GK wont be able to play because he was called by the AU team. is that true?
Because he has to play in the Fulham Reserve team.

Mark Schawzer had to play in the Asian cup 2011, but now hes already back in Fulham. During that period, Neil was upgraded to the 2nd goal keeper position and was in the bench during Fulham EPL matches.

Intel Inside, Idiot outside
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Old March 9th, 2011, 04:24 AM   #62
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Addicks swoop for Etheridge

After injuries to both Rob Elliot and Ross Worner on Saturday, Charlton boss Chris Powell has recruited Philippines international goalkeeper Neil Etheridge on loan ahead of the match against Milton Keynes Dons on Tuesday night.

The 21-year-old Fulham man, who will stay in SE7 until April 5th, will go straight into the Addicks squad for the clash at stadiummk (7.45pm).

Charlton number one Elliot was unable to continue against Tranmere Rovers due to a hip injury and was replaced at half-time, while back-up Worner picked up a dead leg in the second half.

Worner is expected to be fit to face the Dons, but former England U18 international Etheridge will give Powell much-needed options in a crucial area of the pitch.

Etheridge, who has been handed the number 38 jersey, has yet to feature for the Premier League Cottagers, but was named on the bench for a home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 2010.

Although he was born in Enfield and has numerous caps as an England Youth international, he now represents the Philippines, and won his first senior cap in 2008 against Brunei in the AFC Challenge Cup, where he kept three clean sheets in his first three games.

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Old March 10th, 2011, 04:32 AM   #63
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Long Azkals absence for Etheridge
Cedelf P. Tupas
First Posted 01:16:08 10/03/2011

MANILA--- Filipino-British Neil Etheridge has been sent on a month-long loan by English Premiere League side Fulham FC to Charlton Athletic in the third-tier League One, a move that could prevent the Azkals goalkeeper from seeing action for the national booters in several key matches.

The 21-year-old Etheridge, who has already ruled himself out of the second leg of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying duel with Mongolia on March 15, will also miss the group stage qualifying in Myanmar if the Azkals progress.

Although the loan move is only for a month, Etheridge believes he could finish the season with Charlton in League One, which ends May 7. League One doesn’t take a break for international matches unlike the EPL.

That means Etheridge won’t be available for the Azkals until the first round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in June.

The goalkeeper played eight games for the Azkals in 2010 and was instrumental in their run to the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup in Vietnam and Indonesia.

“It kills me (to miss the Myanmar games) but I have to take this chance,” Etheridge told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an e-mail Tuesday night. “It’s massive at my age. This is the kind of move that I have been waiting for.”

Etheridge believes he will have more playing opportunities at Charlton, which is in the midst of a defensive crisis with its two goalkeepers out with injuries.

Meanwhile, former Azkals coach Simon McMenemy has signed a two-year deal to handle Dong Tam Long An FC in the Vietnamese League.

McMenemy coached the Philippine Team for four months in 2010, and steered Azkals to a maiden semifinal finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 04:34 AM   #64
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Azkals fine as quake rocks Japan
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 10, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Azkals stood their ground amid a magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Japan’s northeastern coast at around noontime yesterday.

“The team is fine. They didn’t even feel it,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta over the phone.

The Azkals are in Gotemba, a city located on the southeastern flank of Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka, and close to 200 kms away from the capital of Tokyo.

The Azkals are in Japan, where the temperature drops to zero degree with occasional snow showers, gearing up for a March 15 match with Mongolia.

They leave Japan on Saturday for UIan Bator in Mongolia.

The other day, weather in Ulan Bator was at minus-11 degrees, and the short stint in Japan should give the Azkals enough time to acclimatize.

The Azkals were scheduled to play a friendly against a Japanese squad, but as of presstime nothing has been made available regarding the result.

Phil Younghusband said in his Twitter account that “training is doing well.”

Another post made by Azkals team coordinator Ace Bright said they were scheduled to visit a hot spring somewhere in Gotemba yesterday.

“Japan is known for its hot springs and I’m sure they need one right now,” said Araneta, who will travel to Ulan Bator on Saturday.

The Azkals arrived in Japan two days ago, and last Tuesday they took their first practice session under zero degree weather.

Yesterday’s earthquake reportedly shook buildings hundreds of miles away in Tokyo and triggering a small tsunami. But there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

A report said the epicenter was pointed about 90 miles off the northeastern coast – about 270 miles northeast of Tokyo – at a depth of about five miles.

In Tokyo, office buildings swayed and creaked for about 30 seconds during the quake
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Old March 10th, 2011, 04:46 AM   #65
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Azkals freeze in tune up
By FRANCIS SANTIAGOMarch 10, 2011, 12:07am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals were a shadow of their reputation and fell to the Kanto Gakuin University football team, 4-0, yesterday in the first of their friendly duel in Gotemba City, Japan.

It was not the kind of result expected from the team but officials said that can be explained by the Azkals’ lack of familiarity in the playing conditions which was nearly freezing and also the fact that the Japanese squad was apparently far superior in both technique and teammanship.

The game was part of the Azkals’ preparation for their crucial AFC Challenge Cup rematch against Mongolia on March 15 and it showed they have to make plenty of adjustments when the real match begins.

“Medyo nag-aadjust pa sila sa lamig,” Azkals strength and conditioning coach Josef Malinay said in an overseas call yesterday.

The match was played in an artificial pitch at the Toki no Sumika recreational facility in Gotemba City Wednesday morning where the players according to Malinay, groped for form.

After the game, Malinay said German coach Hans Michael Weiss told his boys to “learn from this game because this (cold weather) is just a glimpse of what they should expect in Mongolia.”

When the national football team plays in Ulan Bator, the weather is expected to be between negative 8 and 20 degrees Celsius. Yesterday, temperature in Gotemba ranged from five to zero degrees.

The Azkals play another tune up match against a college team tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been loaned to Charlton Athletic Football Club by his mother team, United Kingdom’s Fulham FC. Etheridge confirmed this on his Twitter account.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 09:44 AM   #66
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Japan Ranked 1st For World Cup 2014 Asian Qualifying Draw
Samurai Blue are top seeded Asian side as Australia slip
Asian champions Japan have been ranked No.1 for the upcoming World Cup qualifying draw for the Asian Football Confederation on March 30.

Japan reached the second round of the 2010 World Cup before following it up with their Asian Cup triumph at the beginning of this year.

South Korea have been ranked second after matching the feat of the Japanese in South Africa, though they were knocked out of the Asian Cup by none other than their arch-rivals at the semi final stage.

Australia have slipped down the rankings to third, with North Korea fourth and Bahrain fifth, ahead of the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The rankings are based on performances at the last World Cup and during the qualfying rounds for the tournament.

Rankings for the 2014 Asian World Cup qualifiers:

1. Japan, 2. Korea Republic, 3. Australia, 4. DPR Korea, 5. Bahrain, 6. Saudi Arabia, 7. Iran, 8, Qatar, 9. Uzbekistan, 10. UAE, 11. Syria, 12. Oman, 13. Jordan, 14. Iraq, 15. Singapore, 16, China, 17, Kuwait, 18. Thailand, 19. Turkmenistan, 20. Lebanon, 21, Yemen, 22. Tajikistan, 23. Hong Kong, 24. Indonesia, 25. Kyrgyzstan, 26. Maldives, 27. India, 28. Malaysia, 29-30, Afghanistan, Cambodia, 31. Nepal, 32. Bangladesh, 33-34. Sri Lanka, Vietnam, 35. Mongolia, 36. Pakistan, 37. Palestine, 38. Timor Leste, 39. Macau, 40-41. Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, 42-43. Bhutan, Guam, 44-45. The Philippines, Laos
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Old March 11th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #67
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Pagcor chips in P2M for Azkals

MANILA, Philippines - The Azkals continue to draw the sponsors even while away.

Yesterday, as the Azkals trained in wintry Japan, Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta announced that he received a P2 million donation from Pagcor.

“It’s something for the team from Pagcor,” said Araneta.

The PFF chief said the amount will be used to cover the team’s expenses in the ongoing AFC Challenge Cup.

Araneta said bulk of the amount given by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation will cover the plane fare of the team which is now in Japan.

The Azkals are in a training facility in Gotemba, located near the foot of Mt. Fuji. They’ve been there the past four days in preparation for their March 15 match with Mongolia in Ulan Bator.

“Of course, it’s a very big help,” said Araneta of the Pagcor donation courtesy of its chairman, Bong Naguiat, and president, Jorge Sarmiento.

“We want to thank Pagcor, its chairman and president, for their tremendous support,” added the football chief.

Araneta said the Pagcor donation will carry the team through the group stage of the ongoing AFC Challenge. Should the Azkals get past Mongolia, they will next face Myanmar, Bangladesh and Palestine in the next stage.

The Azkals will fly to Ulan Bator, where temperature dips to around minus-11 degrees these days, on Saturday, just in time for the match.

Seeing action in Ulan Bator are Ed Sacapano, Phil Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong, James Younghusband, Anton del Rosario, Ian Araneta, Yanti Barsales, Joebel Bermejo, Reymark Palmes, Mark Ferrer, Peter Jaugan, Chris Camcam, Jerry Barbaso and Kim Relucio, Aly Borromeo, Simon Greatwich, Jason Sabio, Ray Jonsson and Jason de Jong.

Top goalie Neil Etheridge is out of the Ulan Bator match after having been loaned by Fulham to Charleton Athletic for the League One action.

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Old March 11th, 2011, 03:53 AM   #68
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Know your Azkals: James Younghusband's six secrets

James Younghusband looks like your quintessential good boy with a smile that never seems to go away. He’s also very reserved and shy, the opposite of his extroverted brother Phil. Now James talks a little bit more than usual and shares six things that people don’t know about him.

James can be aggressive, but only on the pitch

When James has his game face on, you better get out of his way. He’s not afraid to tackle, or get tackled for that matter.

If you don’t bend the rules, you won’t get far," he says.

Well “bending the rules" has gotten him three red cards to date – first was when he kicked someone with his knee; another was an accidental headbutt; while the last one was just a “silly foul" during a game here in Davao.

Off the pitch, he remains the shy Jimbo we know, so it’s wise to initiate conversation when you first meet him.

James wanted to be a footballer or superhero

He has been playing football since he was 3-years-old. Because of this, it was a no-brainer for him to want to play in the professional leagues later on in life.

However, James had another childhood dream – he wanted to be a superhero. He probably realized fighting villains and flying around was a tough act so he just stuck with football.

Off the pitch, James is a couch potato

Once he gets his rare breaks from football and work, James would rather chill with his family than go out and paint the town red. His stack of DVDs and Play Station games can prove it.

Aside from “Titanic," which Phil also loves, James doesn’t mind watching “The Dark Knight," “Inception" and “The Shawshank Redemption" over and over again.

He also has a special bond with his Play Station, which he says he hasn’t used much because of Azkal duties. But if he has time, he plays virtual football with FIFA and Revelation Soccer.

James loves the arts

If he didn’t pursue sports, James would have stayed in school to study arts. He even used to do graphic design before he got really busy with the Azkals.

“I love being creative. But showbiz is not part of my ‘art,’" he says.

Sorry to all his fans but James is not appearing in mainstream media anytime soon. If ever he does agree to do a movie or a television show, he’ll only accept roles where he’s a football player or coach.

“Nothing out of my comfort zone," he stresses.

James is scared of heights…and potato chips

James’ biggest fear is heights but he’s obviously overcome that already, what with him getting on planes almost every week for the Azkals.

So right now, his biggest fear would be potato chips. Yes, that bag of salty snack you keep in your pantry.

“I had a bad experience with potato chips when I was a kid. I was in Wales and I got this really bad packet. It was expired or something. After that, I never touched potato chips again," he retells.

Phil even kids that when he wants James to do something for him, he scares him with potato chips. Weird, but it’s kind of endearing.

No matter what you do, James won’t accept your marriage proposal

The rumor that three people – one girl and two guys – have proposed marriage to James is true. With his smile and charming English accent, who wouldn’t fall in love?

Obviously he didn’t accept any of them, and James says he won’t be accepting any future proposals either.

“I can’t just accept a marriage proposal. I have to get to know the person first, make sure we have the same interests," the 24-year-old says.

He’d also prefer to be the one initiating the marriage proposal. Once he’s found that one lucky girl, he wants to marry her in a beach right here in the Philippines.

“I want a simple wedding, with the perfect bride," he says with his signature half-smile.

Now even if he doesn’t talk that much, his mean football moves and little quirks are enough to do the talking.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 05:44 AM   #69
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Sabio, Greatwich rejoin Azkals
By FRANCIS SANTIAGOMarch 10, 2011, 11:24pm

MANILA, Philippines – Jason Sabio has left his law studies in the US to pursue his football dreams and together with midfielder Simon Greatwich, the duo are due to rejoin the Philippine Azkals in Japan Friday where the team is currently training for their all-important match against Mongolia four days from now in Ulan Bator.

It could not be determined how fit Sabio and Greatwich are after missing much of the Azkals training sessions.

The Fil-American Sabio, a second year University of Alabama law student whose mother is from Koronadal City, South Cotabato, left sometime in late February to go to the US to tell his professors that he was temporarily stopping his studies to play for the national team.

The Crimson White newspaper in Alabama reported on Wednesday that Sabio “has decided to take a leave of absence from the University of Alabama. His reason? To dedicate himself to the Philippine national soccer team for nine months.”

“Law school will always be there,” Sabio said in the same interview. “I already have my bachelor’s, and I’ve spoken to the dean of the law school in depth, and he says I have to do it too.” Sabio said he’s excited to join his teammates.

“Magandang umaga! 12 hours from now I’m leaving Bama (Alabama in the United States)… I can’t wait,” Sabio, 24, posted on his Twitter account Thursday. “Bro, Simon (Greatwich) and I leave on Mar 10. It takes a day to get to Japan! I’m slated for March 11, 2:30 pm.”

The two will join the Azkals who will reportedly play again the Kanto Gakuin University football team Friday. The Kanto booters beat the Azkals, 4-0, in a friendly match on Wednesday.

Sabio debuted for the Azkals last Feb. 9 and played 26 minutes in the second half against the Mongolians, whom they beat, 2-0, in the first leg of their series in Bacolod City.

A 22-year-old varsity player of Hartwick College in New York, Greatwich made a lot of heads turn in the second half against Mongolia, nearly scoring on an overhead kick.

The Fil-British’s availability comes as a boost for the Azkals, considering that his older brother, Chris, Rob Gier and goalie Neil Etheridge will skip the match.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #70
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@dspalami on twitter:
Azkals are safe...felt the tremors but okay. Airports have been closed, hopefully it won't affect the flight to Mongolia tomorrow.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 04:46 AM   #71
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We're all safe - Azkals
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 12, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Azkals are all safe and sound after another powerful earthquake, this time with a magnitude of 8.9, struck the northeastern coast of Japan yesterday afternoon.

“Just to let everyone know we’re all safe in Japan. We’re quite far from the coastline so no need to worry,” said Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo on Twitter a few hours after the earthquake.

It was the second earthquake to hit Japan in three days, and yesterday’s was more powerful than Wednesday’s which had a magnitude of 7.3.

There were reports of heavy damage in the areas most hit by the earthquake, with aftershocks as powerful at 7.4 as well as tsunami alerts even in the neighboring countries.

The Azkals are in Gotemba, close to 200 km away from Tokyo, as part of their training for the March 15 match with Mongolia in Ulan Bator.

“The Azkals are safe. Felt the tremors but otherwise okay,” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami who flew home to the Philippines from Japan the other day.

The Azkals were supposed to train in Fukushima but at the last minute had moved to Gotemba.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because in Fukushima, six people died and many more were hurt after yesterday’s earthquake.

It was very difficult to get through the phone and get a first-hand account from the Azkals regarding the earthquake which struck at 2:46 p.m. (Japan time).

“No phone connection. We are all fine. But we don’t know how we are going to fly because the airports are all closed,” said Azkals goalie Chris Camcam on Twitter.

“Just want to let you know that the team is alright here in Japan. Please send your prayers to the rest of the country,” said defender Anton del Rosario.

Because of yesterday’s earthquake, Palami raised some concern regarding the Azkals’ flight to Ulan Bator Saturday evening.

“Airports have been closed but hopefully it won’t affect flight to Mongolia tomorrow,” said Palami.

Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta called The STAR to assure everyone that the Azkals are safe in their training camp.

“They’re okay. No need to worry,” said Araneta, who said two Azkals players coming in from the United States might take longer to get to Japan.

Araneta said he still has to receive word on Jason Sabio, who’s coming in from Chicago, and Simon Greatwich, who’s flying in from Houston.

“They were supposed to arrive in Japan at 2:30 and 4:25 yesterday. Maybe their flights have been diverted because of the closure of the airports,” said the PFF chief.

But Araneta said he’s hoping that things would normalize soon, and that Sabio and Greatwich will be able to join the team before the day is over.

Araneta said the second tuneup match between the Azkals and a Japanese squad, scheduled for today, may no longer take place because of what had happened.

The Azkals lost to the Kanto University team the other day, 4-0, in a match played under sub-zero weather.

“Airports were closed, train tracks as well. Maybe that second match will be cancelled,” said Araneta.

The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #72
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Azkals flies to Mongolia from Japan a day after quake

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals football team is now headed for Ulan Bator, Mongolia after experiencing the magnitude 8.9 quake that struck Sendai City, Japan Friday afternoon.

According to sportswriter Cedelf Tupas’ Twitter account at around 1:45 PM, Saturday, the Azkals are “now in Tokyo, making their way to Narita Airport.”

Earlier at 9:30 AM, he tweeted that the team was “instructed to pack, hoping to make it to Narita in time for 730 pm flight to Beijing then to Ulan Bator.”

An hour later, he followed with “Azkals left Gotemba already. Headed to train station to take bullet train to Tokyo. Then off to Narita to catch flight.” His next tweet, posted another hour after, said that the team already reached Mishima station and “buying bullet train tickets to Tokyo now.”

Tupas also posted that the Azkals might leave at 7:20 PM for Beijing, China via Air China before flying to Ulan Bator.

The Azkals was in Gotemba City for acclimation training in preparation for their second Asian Football Confederation (AFC) prequalifying game vs. the Mongolian football team to be held on March 15.

According to a report aired by TV Patrol on Friday, they were in the middle of the second practice game against the Kanto Gakuin University football team when the earthquake shook Sendai.

Photo courtesy of Richard Pacana

Reuters reported that the US Geological Society estimated the epicenter to be at 130 kms. east of Sendai in Honshu, off-shore, at a depth of 24 kms. With Tokyo city as reference point, southern city Gotemba is three hours away while northern city Sendai, two.

“Kinakabahan kahit medyo malayo kami kasi first time namin na makaranas ng gano'n kalakas na lindol. Malakas talaga yun kasi matutumba ka 'pag hindi ka nakahawak eh,” co-captain Chieffy Caligdong relayed via phone interview.

On the other hand, striker Roel Gener said “Huwag na po sila [mga pamilya] mag-alala. Ok naman kami dito, yun nga lang malamig.”

Other strikers Phil and James Youghusband, Aly Borromeo, Christopher Camcam, and Anton del Rosario made use of Twitter to inform their friends and family of the situation there and that they’re safe.

“No signal on phones because of the earthquakes. Experienced an earthquake during our game today. Don't know if we will leave tomorrow ,” Phil reported.

“Everyone is ok guys! Thanks for the concern. Felt earthquake during our game and not sure if we'll be able to fly out tomorrow,” James said.

Team captain Borromeo said, “Thoughts and prayers go out to all the locals here in Japan. Don't worry about the team guys we're all safe over here!” and also mentioned that they felt aftershocks hours after the earthquake.

Goalie Chris Camcam reported that phone lines had been cut where they were and that tsunamis are “all over Japan.”

Azkals defender del Rosario said that there’s “flooding everywhere but we're far from it” and that he hopes “Japan will overcome this dreadful disaster.”

Their team manager Dan Palami also assured everyone via Twitter that the Azkals “felt the tremors but otherwise okay.”

More, the TV Patrol report mentioned that Azkals strikers Simon Greatwich and Jason Sabio, both coming from the US but through separate flights, were supposed to join the team in flying out of Tokyo to Ulan Bator today.

However, the quake caused the airports in Japan to close down until this morning so Sabio was stranded in Narita Airport in Tokyo while Greatwich in Osaka from yesterday afternoon up to today. According to Sabio’s and Greatwich’s Twitter account as of this writing, Greatwich will instead be flying to Ulan Bator via Seoul, South Korea while Sabio will head to Beijing first before finally getting on another flight to Ulan Bator.

Meanwhile, the Azkals bowed down to the Kanto Gakuin University team in the friendly games held on Tuesday and Friday, 0-4 and 1-8, respectively.

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Old March 13th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #73
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Azkals take risky route to U Bator
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 13, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The resilient Azkals took the risk as they left the training facility in Gotemba, Japan yesterday morning just to catch their evening flight to Ulan Bator, Mongolia via Beijing.

The Azkals arrived safely at the Narita International Airport after taking a bullet train. They boarded the Air China flight to Beijing past 8 p.m.

They were scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 11:30 p.m., with very little time, 40 minutes to be exact, to catch the flight to Ulan Bator at 12:10 a.m.

“(We’re) at the (Narita) boarding gate. Been traveling nine hours and not even on the plane. (We) carried boxes around Japan literally by foot,” said Phil Younghusband on his Twitter.

The Azkals hooked up with teammate Jason Sabio who had been at the Narita Airport since Friday’s earthquake.

Simon Greatwich, who also came in from the United States, but on a different flight, ended up in Incheon, South Korea, and was on his way to Ulan Bator last night.

The earthquake that struck the northeastern coast of Japan the other day left the Azkals, in Gotemba since Monday, in a tight situation as they prepared for Tuesday’s match.

As of Friday evening, there was no certainty if the Azkals would be able to fly out of Japan which was struck by the seventh strongest earthquake in history.

Team officials feared that if the Azkals left Gotemba for Tokyo by bus, and travel around 170 kms, they might get stuck somewhere along the way.

And it was very hard to guess what might happen considering all the damage caused by the earthquake that left hundreds dead, with continuing threats of a tsunami and aftershocks.

Tokyo was a gridlock as of midnight of Friday, with traffic at a standstill, and an ordinary one-hour drive took at least five times longer.

The situation left football president Nonong Araneta and Azkals team manager Dan Palami, who were in Manila, in a quandary.

They thought of pushing for a cancellation of the March 15 match with the Mongolians, and push it back to a couple of days until things normalize in Japan.

But amid all these, the Azkals kept their supporters updated via Twitter, assuring everyone that they are all safe in Gotemba, which is far off the coastlines of Japan.

Araneta and Palami moved their flights to Ulan Bator via Incheon, South Korea from yesterday noon to tomorrow, meaning they will get there on the eve of the match.

But the Azkals, fortunately, did manage to get out of Gotemba, and safely to the Narita Airport on their way out to Ulan Bator.

“The Japanese Football Association did everything they could to make sure the team gets to the airport safely,” said Araneta.

Greatwich joked on his Twitter account that Sabio “has been stuck at the airport for so long he’s starting to look like Robin Williams in Jumanji.”

Del Rosario said the Narita Airport “looked like a hotel and the floor are the beds.”

Speaking of Sabio, Del Rosario said in jest, “He’s right next to me in one piece but he stinks.”

Sabio replied, “Anton is right. I smell. I smell like roses and butterflies.”

The Azkals will play the Mongolians in Ulan Bator at around 1 p.m. Tuesday, under freezing weather conditions, and would rely on their Columbia thermal outwear to fight it off.

The Azkals defeated the Mongolians at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, 2-0, last Feb. 9, and now the hosts need to win by a margin of at least three goals to boot the Azkals out.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 02:38 PM   #74
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Azkals expected in Ulan Bator today
Cedelf P. Tupas
First Posted 12:09:56 13/03/2011

MANILA—The gripping journey included two train rides and offered the Philippine football team an actual glimpse of the devastation in earthquake and tsunami-hit Japan.

The Azkals managed to survive yesterday the transportation crisis that hounded Japan, arriving in Tokyo just in time to catch their flight to Beijing, where they will take another plane to the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator.

The Azkals were scheduled to arrive in Ulan Bator early this morning, three days before the second leg of their AFC Challenge Cup qualifying duel with Mongolia.

“It was a long journey for the team, but we are happy that the team made it,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta. “Now they can focus on the match.”

For awhile Friday night, the prospect of the Azkals reaching Ulan Bator on schedule looked dim with roads to Tokyo damaged by the earthquake measured at 8.9 on the Richter Scale and operations at the Narita Airport came to a halt.

Gotemba, where the Azkals trained to acclimatize with Ulan Bator’s cold weather, is located in Southern Japan and is a three-hour drive from Tokyo.

The scenario was so serious that Araneta had broached the possibility of requesting the AFC to move the match to March 16.

But things started to normalize yesterday and the Azkals left Gotemba early Saturday morning. After a short bus ride, the team took the bullet train to Tokyo then transferred to another train to the airport.

The Azkals met up with teammate Jason Sabio, who spent the night at the airport after spending eight hours on the Japan Airlines plane that brought him to Tokyo from Chicago parked on the tarmac.

Another teammate, Simon Greatwich, found his United Airlines flight to Tokyo from Houston Friday diverted to Osaka. Greatwich flew to Incheon, South Korea, and will take a flight to Ulan Bator Saturday.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 03:27 AM   #75
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Tired, sleepless Azkals 'frozen'
By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 14, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo checked out the pitch yesterday and couldn’t believe what he saw.

“(It) almost turned into ice,” he said on his Twitter account.

Worse, the Azkals couldn’t even get to practice and warm up because their luggage got lost somewhere in transit.

The Azkals are tired, cold and weary in Mongolia.

With only two days before the match, the Azkals are just trying to keep their confidence at a high level.

“Yesterday is over and done with,” added Borromeo from Ulan Bator, the freezing Mongolian capital where yesterday’s weather was at a low of -13 and a high of -24 degrees Celsius.

Borromeo said they’re all hoping for the best.

“Greater expectations, greater results ahead,” he said.

“Two days until game time. It’s time to focus,” said defender Anton del Rosario, who was quite surprised to find Filipino fans in Mongolia.

“What are all these Filipinos doing in Mongolia? We’ll have more fans than Mongolia,” he said.

Borromeo and the Azkals travelled almost 24 hours to get to Ulan Bator Saturday, all the way from earthquake-ravaged Gotemba in Japan via Beijing.

It was a treacherous journey out of Japan considering the damage caused by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck its northeastern coast.

The Azkals were in a training facility in Gotemba, 174 kms away from Tokyo when the great earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. Friday.

The Azkals almost got stranded in Gotemba, and their March 15 match with Mongolia almost threatened. But the Japanese Football Association made sure they safely got out of the country.

It wasn’t easy.

The Azkals had to take a bullet train to Tokyo in the morning, and were stranded at the Narita International Airport because of flight delays.

They managed to board the plane to Beijing at around 8 p.m. and caught a connecting flight to Ulan Bator past midnight.

The Azkals arrived in Ulan Bator past 4 a.m., and, all wrapped in their Columbia thermal gear, were met by the terrible winter conditions. Ulan Bator is said to be the coldest national capital in the world.

Worse, they arrived minus their luggage, which got left behind in Beijing, and was to be brought to the Palace Hotel yesterday afternoon.

“We safely arrived in Mongolia. It’s 4:30 a.m. Definitely ready for bed,” said Simon Greatwich on Twitter.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #76
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Minus key men, Azkals try to toss out Mongolia today

INCHEON—A Philippine football team known to thrive in adversity faces its biggest challenge yet when it battles Mongolia minus several key players Tuesday in the second leg of their AFC Challenge Cup duel at the National Stadium in Ulan Bator.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. with the Azkals also hoping to overcome the sub-zero conditions against the Mongolians, who need to win by at least three goals to prevent the the Filipinos from reaching the group stage.

The Azkals won the first leg, 2-0, on goals from Phil Younghusband and Chieffy Caligdong at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod last Feb. 9.

Though they trained as well as to acclimatize in Gotemba City in earthquake-ravaged Japan, the Azkals managed just one training session in Ulan Bator in minus-10 degrees Celsius temperature since they only got their luggage on Monday morning.

The match is expected to be played at temperatures ranging from minus-4 to minus-6 degrees, and the players believe that they can weather the challenge as long as they stay mobile on the pitch.

As long as we keep running, I think we will be okay,” said skipper Aly Borromeo.

The Azkals will miss goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, defender Rob Gier and midfielders Chris Greatwich and Jason de Jong.

Eduard Sacapano is expected to fill in for Etheridge, while Jason Sabio will likely start in place of Gier. Roel Gener and Peter Jaugan are on line to replace De Jong in a defensive midfield role.

As if the treacherous journey from Gotemba to Ulan Bator wasn’t enough, a member of the team, Ray Jonsson, found himself unable to make it to Ulan Bator on time because team officials already in the Mongolian capital kept his passport.

Jonsson, the reliable Fil-Icelandic defender, was not permitted by Chinese immigration to board a flight to Ulan Bator for fear that he might be sent back because he did not have a Mongolian visa, which is actually issued on arrival in the capital city.

Not even a letter of guarantee from the Mongolian Football Federation could convince Chinese immigration, and Jonsson was forced to take another flight to Incheon, South Korea, where he was to board a flight to Ulan Bator Monday night.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and Azkals team manager Dan Palami believe the challenges faced by the Azkals just to make it to Mongolia will motivate them to play well.

“This will motivate them further,” said Araneta. “I think what they have to think about is that they should be blessed that they are safe now. I just want them to refocus on the match. I expect them to fight hard after all of these adversities.”

“This just tests the resolve of our team,” said Palami. “If we want to go to the next level, we must overcome these challenges, and I think we have a team that’s capable of making it past Mongolia.”

The Azkals don’t see any problem beating Mongolia under normal conditions, but the cold weather has raised concerns.

Phil Younghusband shares Borromeo’s sentiment, saying the Azkals are the better players individually than the Mongolians.

“We’re more confident now than in the first leg because we have seen them play,” said Younghusband.

The Azkals’ German coach Hans Michael Weiss expects the Mongolians to shift to a more attacking style of play this time.

In the Feb. 9 match, Mongolia played on the defensive, tightened the spaces, and man-marked Younghusband, making it difficult for the Azkals to score more goals.

“Mongolia will and has to attack and we want to catch them on the break,” said Weiss. “We will be playing it safe. My team must stand this character test because only the conditions can cause damage to us.”

Younghusband added: “They will need to score, so they will commit more men forward and that gives us more space.”

“We expect them to come out strong, but if we hold them in the first half, I think we’re going to be okay,” said Borromeo.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:59 AM   #77
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Philippine Azkals vs Mongolia 2nd Leg

Live on Studio 23 at 12 noon. Replay will be aired by BALLS at 3 pm and by Studio 23 at 7 pm.

Good luck to the Azkals!

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Old March 15th, 2011, 05:07 AM   #78
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Experts confident Phl XI will pull thru
By Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) Updated March 15, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former national football coach Aris Caslib said yesterday he expects the Philippines to beat Mongolia in the rematch of their Challenge Cup home-and-away qualifying series at Ulan Bator this afternoon and predicted the same score, 2-0, as in the first game in Bacolod.

But to clinch the tie, Caslib said the Azkals must make adjustments in their style of play particularly as Mongolia will have scouted the Philippines more assiduously by now.

“When we break away, we can’t just go to the left or right because as Mongolia showed in Bacolod, they can manage us from either side,” said Caslib. “We’ve got to open up the middle. Phil (Younghusband) and Ian (Araneta) must work together to create opportunities. I think Anton (del Rosario) must time his overlapping run to give us a chance to attack the middle. (Peter) Jaugan and Simon (Greatwich) should play in combination to give our strikers more openings to score. In basketball, you take long shots to open up the middle. It’s the same thing in football. Phil was well marked in Bacolod so we have to find ways to get him free.”

Caslib said he has attended coaching seminars in Mongolia and is familiar with the national stadium conditions. “The venue isn’t very big and can accommodate only up to 2,500,” said Caslib. “My main worry is the climate but I think we’re prepared to play in cold weather. Our Fil-foreigners are used to the cold but our locals like Chieffy (Caligdong) and Ian must cope. I know Chieffy and Ian will step up. The training in Baguio and Japan should be sufficient to get the team used to the weather.”

Caslib said the absence of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and defender Rob Gier may or may not make a difference. Eduard Sacapano will take over Etheridge’s job.

“I think Sacapano will do fine,” said Caslib. “When we played in the 2006 Challenge Cup in Bangladesh, he was our goalkeeper and did okay. We drew twice and lost only once. That was his first time in international competition. We had a goalkeeping coach counselling him during the tournament. So in Mongolia, we’ll need someone to just focus on Eduard. We’ve got to build up his confidence. As for Gier’s absence, I think we’ve got enough defenders to fill in. Aly (Borromeo) and Anton are tough defenders. So our depth is enough to make up for Rob.”

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) chairman Johnny Romualdez said once the game gets going, the weather won’t be a factor for as long as the players keep moving.

“That’s football, if you don’t move, you don’t score or you don’t defend so I expect our team to be on the move from start to finish,” said Romualdez. “It’s not easy playing in freezing conditions particularly at the start. My worry is our goalkeeper. He could tighten up if he doesn’t get too much work. We know that Neil is a big part of our defense and without him, Sacapano must work double time because Mongolia will be on the attack. Mongolia didn’t show too much offense in Bacolod but if they want to win the tie, they’ve got to score and win by at least three goals. We’ll miss Rob, too, but our defense should be able to cover up.”

Romualdez said since Mongolia will be more offense-oriented, the defense should loosen up for the Azkals to score. “Once the defense opens up, Phil will score, that’s for sure,” said Romualdez. “We’ve got others who can also score like Ian, Chieffy, James (Younghusband) and Jason (de Jong). I think it’ll be a more exciting match than in Bacolod, more high-scoring. It’s all a matter of playing to our strengths and covering up our weaknesses.”

Another former national coach Juan Cutillas said the Azkals will win with no problem.

“Let’s face it, Mongolia is a poor quality team,” said Cutillas. “I think we should win without any trouble. The difference in our skills level is abysmal. The weather might slow us down but I think we should be acclimatized by now. I recall when I was coaching the Australian team from Queensland, we toured New Zealand and during one game, the temperature dropped from five degrees above to three or four below zero in a matter of about 45 minutes. But we kept on playing.”

Cutillas said he was disturbed by reports that the Azkals lost badly to a university team in Japan twice last week. The scores weren’t close, 4-0 and 8-1. “I don’t know what happened, maybe we just couldn’t cope with the quality of the opposition or the weather was too cold for us or we weren’t complete,” said Cutillas. “Whatever the reason, I’m hoping it won’t affect our performance in Mongolia. I expect Mongolia’s defense to open up a little and that will make it easier for us to score. If our defense holds, they’ll try to score with long balls but we should be able to handle whatever they try.”
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Old March 15th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #79
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Goooooooaal! Phil Younghusband!

I think about 2-3 minutes in? Mongolia now needs to score 4 goals to advance past the Philippines.

Edit: It was James Younghusband at 3 minutes.

I am the original thread killer.

Last edited by bagel; March 15th, 2011 at 08:24 AM.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #80
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whoo hoo!

Mongolia's pitch is much better than I expected. Seems like a well developed stadium and its surroundings.
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