US-BOUND AZKALS EYE NEHRU CUP STINThttp://phfootballscribe.wordpress.com/2 ... cup-stint/
The Philippine men’s football team could cut short its training camp in the United States in favor of joining a formidable field in the Nehru Cup in India from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2.
The Azkals are set to play at least three matches in the US from Aug. 10 to 25, but Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta told the Inquirer they could accept the invitation which was coursed through former PFF general-secretary Domeka Garamendi, who now works for International Football Federation (Fifa).
The Azkals are hoping to get the best possible preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup late this year as they bid to at least match their historic semifinal finish two years ago.
One factor that is persuading the PFF to join the Nehru Cup is the fact that pedigreed sides like Jordan, Syria and Kenya have been invited to the tournament.
Along with host India, which the Philippines defeated, 2-0, in the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal, the other country that has confirmed its participation is Maldives, which failed also to make it out of the group stage of the AFC Challenge.
Strong teams like Cameroon, Nigeria, Thailand, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Zambia were also invited to the tournament.
“This is still a positive sign for us because we are getting an invitation to such a strong tournament,” said Araneta, who is in Bangkok for the AFF Suzuki Cup draw today.
The Suzuki Cup kicks off Nov. 21 in Thailand and Malaysia with the Azkals already seeded to the group stage, owing to their surprise semifinal finish two years ago.
Speaking at the PSA Forum, PFF marketing and communications head Ebong Joson said Malaysia and Thailand will be in one pot, while Vietnam and Indonesia will also be in another pot, meaning they will not be grouped together.
The Philippines and Singapore are in pot three, while the two qualifiers will be in the fourth pot.