19 December 2014

Uphill climb for Global FC in AFC Cup

By Cedelf P. Tupas

GLOBAL FC seeks to create a ripple in its maiden AFC Cup appearance next year with team owner Dan Palami hoping that a strong performance will further open doors for more Filipino clubs  competing in the continental level.
Grouped with the finest clubs from Burma (Myanmar), Hong Kong and Malaysia, Global faces an uphill climb to survive the group stage of the competition which will be a double-round, home-and-away format starting March.
Global is coming off a banner season in the United Football League, winning the league in convincing fashion and prevailing in the FA Charity Cup. But Global lost to upstart Ceres La Salle FC in the FA League Cup finals last month.
Ceres, as Smart National Club champion, is also entered in the AFC Cup, but the Bacolod side will need to go through a playoff for the last berth in the East zone.
“It is not just being crowned as champions of the Philippines that matters now. It is also the chance to represent your club in the Asian region,” said Palami.
Palami hopes that the AFC Cup participation will challenge local clubs to become even more competitive.
“This is a good opportunity, not just for Global but for all the clubs as well because the door has been opened for our participation in the AFC Cup,” said Palami.
“We have the growth of clubs also to complement (the success of the Azkals), this will be the best formula for the improvement of Philippine football.”
Global participated in the AFC President’s Cup last year, but crashed out of the group stage.
“The Asian level is a different level.  You cannot be complacent and be comfortable with your domestic achievements,” said Palami.

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/170142/uphill-climb-for-global-fc-in-afc-cup#ixzz3MK6f7FH9

18 December 2014

FIFA World Ranking December

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PFF rules out Dooley as U-23 mentor

By Cedelf P.Tupas

The Philippine Football Federation yesterday ruled out national team coach Thomas Dooley as mentor of the Under-23 side competing in the Philippine contingent in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
PFF general secretary Edwin Gastanes said the federation will be tapping a different coaching staff that will solely focus on the SEA Games team.
Former Azkals coach Michael Weiss handled the last SEA Games side that won only one match and crashed out during the group stage in the 2011 edition in Indonesia.
“It was a mistake and we’ve learned our lesson,” said Gastanes of the decision of having the senior team coach also handling the Under-23 side. “There should be another coach who should just focus on the Under-23 team.”
Another reason why the PFF wants a separate coaching staff is the fact that both the SEA Games competition and World Cup Qualifying will run almost on the same dates in June.
After missing out on the 2013 event in Myanmar, the chef de mission Julian Camacho announced last week that a team will be sent this time with at least eight members of the Azkals within the age requirement. The PFF has already submitted an initial list of 50 players for the competition.
“We already submitted documents and have also been attending meetings,” said Gastanes. “We hope that we are able to send a team this time.”
This year’s SEA Games squad, Gastanes said, will be culled from the Under-22 team coached by Australian Jim Fraser as well as a few members of the senior side who are within the age limit, including Daisuke Sato and Amani Aguinaldo.
The Under-22 team which is also preparing for an AFC competition next year underwent training in Japan last month.
“We will appoint a coaching staff and management team soon so preparations can really take off,” said Gastanes.

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/170090/pff-rules-out-dooley-as-u-23-mentor#ixzz3MCQMzsTx

16 December 2014

Palami and Dooley issue challenge to Azkals, say winning a trophy will prove them worthy of Fifa ranking

By Karlo Sacamos
THE Philippines may be on top of the Southeast Asian football scene on paper, but it remains to be seen on the field. That was proven once again in the Philippines recent Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup campaign where they missed out on a finals berth for third straight time, and team manager Dan Palami stressed that the ranking won’t matter without a title. “Until we get that Cup, we will be a potential Asean football power,” Palami said. “There’s nothing like the Cup to prove that we are indeed are a force to reckon with.” The top-ranked squad in the region at 128th, the Filipino booters bowed to lower-ranked squads in the AFF Cup. “Fifa ranking is never really a measurement of where a team is staying because you don’t play the same games,” Azkals coach Thomas Dooley admitted. “Some play more, some less, some against stronger teams, some against weaker teams.” Although they dispatched 159th-ranked Laos, 4-1, and 157th-ranked Indonesia, 4-0, in the group stage, the Azkals suffered disappointing defeats at the hands of 138th-ranked Vietnam, 3-0, in their final group stage match, and 144th-ranked Thailand, 3-0, on aggregate, in the semifinals. In a more glaring example last May, the Filipinos footballers lost 1-0 to a Palestine side that was ranked 165th in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup finale that enabled the country from the middle east to make a huge leap in the ranks to 94th. The Azkals also suffered a 3-2 extra-time loss to Myanmar in the Philippine Peace Cup virtual finale three months ago. The Azkals have played more friendlies compared to their Asean neighbors in preparation for the Suzuki Cup, greatly factoring in their current ranking. “But Fifa ranking doesn’t really show which team is better, which team is not,” Dooley said, although he believes the Filipino booters are on the right track. “The development we had so far is okay,” the German-American mentor said. “I think you can Bmove to a certain level where it’s a little bit more difficult.” “We just have to work harder to get to the next level,” he added. “Everything has to be a little bit faster. Every decision has to be made a little bit different and the urgency we have in the back has to be developed.”

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/azkals-fifa-ranking-aff-suzuki-cup-thomas-dooley-dan-palami
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Phl Azkals build up for int’l campaigns

By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - While the Philippine Azkals look ahead to vying in next year’s  Fifa World Cup qualifiers, the nation’s under-23 squad will also embark on their own tough mission aimed at the Rio Olympics.
The U-23 Azkals will compete in the qualifiers for the AFC U-23 Championship 2016, the designated qualifying meet in Asia for the Olympiad in Rio.
They will have their hands full in the group qualifiers slated March 2015, though, as they found themselves bracketed in Group G along with North Korea, Southeast Asian power Thailand, and Cambodia after last week’s official draw.
The winners of the 10 groups, as well as the five best second-placers and host Qatar will advance to the tournament proper in January 2016. The top three teams in the main event of the AFC U-23 tilt will move on to the 2016 Olympiad.
The Pinoy booters (U21 team) last played in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in Brunei, where they posted four points on a win, a draw and two losses. Last month, the squad coached by Australian Jim Fraser underwent training for 15 days at Osaka’s J-Green training facilities.
The Azkals will begin their World Cup quest in June 2015 yet in the first round of the qualification tilt.
The draw for the 40-nation field will be held April 2015, with teams divided into eight groups of five.
Under the new format, the Azkals expect to play four home games, giving them the needed boost from their supporters.
Meanwhile, Filipino clubs Global FC and Ceres La Salle FC will also see action internationally in 2015 at the AFC Cup, the continent’s second tier tourney for clubs.
Global FC, the United Football League (UFL) champs, was awarded a berth in Group G, where they take on either Yadnarbon or Yangon United of Myanmar, South China of Hong Kong, and Pahang FA of Malaysia.
Ceres, the UFL FA Cup holders, was granted a slot in playoff/preliminary round. The Bacolod-based club will dispute a berth in Group E  with Mayiza Sports and Recreation of Maldives in February 2015.

AFC U23 Qualifiers : Thailand hosting Group G

Thailand will be hosting  Group G in AFC U23 Championship  - Qualifiers

To be played from March 21 to 31

Teams : Thailand , PHILIPPINES, North Korea and Cambodia

The ten group winners and best five runners-up from all groups qualified for the final tournament.

Azkals success works in favor of bid to send football team to 2015 SEA Games

From: Reuben Terrado

TOP sports officials are batting for the inclusion of a football team in the Philippine delegation to the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in the wake of the Azkals' semifinal finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Julian Camacho, chief of mission of the Philippine team to next year’s SEA Games, said he is all for an Under-23 men’s team joining the delegation to the Singapore showpiece - two years after a football team failed to pass the screening for the 2013 Games in Myanmar. Camacho, however, said it will be the collegial decision of the SEA Games management committee, which is set to meet this week to discuss certain details like criteria and possible composition of athletes for next year’s Games. “Actually, pag-uusapan pa namin ‘yan. Hindi pa namin na-dedecide,” Camacho said. “Pero malamang papasok ‘yun.” An Under-23 team did not compete in the SEA Games two years ago after failing to get the nod of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) screening committee which only wanted ‘potential gold medalists’ in the delegation. But the Azkals' recent success should work in favor of the SEA Games team's bid to hurdle the screening. The seniors side made it to the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup. Prior to the tournament, the Azkals were also the top team in Southeast Asia based on Fifa rankings. Camacho also bared the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has already submitted possible names for the Under-23 team, underlying their intention to be represented in the SEA Games. “Nakikita naman na maganda ang performance nila. Actually, nag-submit na sila ng mga pangalan and passports for documentation. Although hindi pa sila sigurado, at least nandyan na ‘yung papeles nila,” Camacho said. POC vice-president Joey Romasanta is also in favor of the inclusion of an Under-23 men’s football team in the SEA Games-bound delegation but hopes the PFF will be able to form a competitive team next year. “I’m for football to be included,” Romasanta said. “Ang problema kasi the last time was ‘yung Under-23, walang record kaya hindi makasama. Sinasabi naman nila na may laban pero they should try their best to make sure that the team is competitive."

Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/aff-suzuki-cup-football-2015-sea-games-julian-camacho

15 December 2014

Azkals start 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June 2015, draw in April

2018 FIFA World Cup Qualfiers in Asia

First Round/Preliminary draw : 10. February 2015
Draw for the 12 lowest ranked countries in Asia . They meet in  home and away matches in March

Second Round draw : 11. April 2015
40 countries in Asia , 8 groups of 5.
Matches start in June. Philippines will be in First Round.

Sources : UAE and Japan FA website

Seedings will probably be based on FIFA rankings.

The qualification structure is as follows:
  • First round (Preliminary round): The lowest ranked teams will play home-and-away over two legs to reduce the total number of teams to 40.
  • Second round: The 40 teams will be divided into eight groups of five to play home-and-away round-robin matches, where the eight group winners and the four best group runners-up will advance to the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification as well as qualify for the AFC Asian Cup finals.
  • Third round: The 12 teams (an increase from 10 for 2014) will be divided into two groups of six to play home-and-away round-robin matches. Dependent on the number of qualifiers from the AFC, the top two teams of each group will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the two third placed teams will advance to the fourth round.
  • Fourth round: Dependent on the number of qualifiers from the AFC, the two third-placed teams in each group from the third round will play against each other home-and-away over two legs to determine which team will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

Source : Wikipedia