Fil-foreigners join Azkals Middle East camp

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 09 2012 12:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2012 08:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Europe-based players Jason de Jong, Ray Jonsson, Roland Muller and Neil Etheridge will link up with their local-based Azkals teammates in their training camp in the Middle East, suiting up for at least one of their three scheduled friendlies.

Fil-Dutch midfielder De Jong of Dordrecht was due to join the Azkals in Dubai from The Netherlands yesterday, while Fil-German goalkeeper Muller of Bundesliga 2 club MSV Duisburg, will be in the UAE today.

The duo will arrive in time for Phl’s match against Uzbekistan on Saturday night (midnight Sunday in Manila) at the Al Maktoum Stadium at Al Nasr Sports Club. They are expected to see action in the Azkals’ second assignment as well, against Qatar Star League First Division side Al Ahli Sports Club on Feb. 13 in Doha, Qatar.

Fil-British custodian Etheridge of Fulham, for his part, is expected by Feb. 14, two days before the Azkals tangle with Qantas Australia U-23, also in Dubai.

The core of the team landed in Dubai from Manila yesterday to start their 10-day camp preparatory to the AFC Challenge Cup next month in Nepal.

In the lineup are veterans Phil and James Younghusband, Rob Gier, Ian Araneta, Chieffy Caligdong, Angel Guirado, Roel Gener, and Misagh Bahadoran, Jason Sabio, and Lexton Moy; U-23 mainstays Joshua Beloya, Carli de Murga, Paolo Pascual, and Marwin Angeles; and new recruits, Ruben Doctora of Stallions FC, Fil-Spanish Luis Guirado, and Fil-German striker Denis Wolf.

"We have one month before the Challenge Cup and we need to use the time wisely," coach Michael Weiss said as reported on website.

"The UAE is producing some very attractive football and it's fast becoming attractive to the Europeans. That is why we have chosen Dubai. It’s important for a developing country like ours to get the experience of playing high quality opposition," he added.