Azkals, Palestine focused on finals, not Asian Cup


Posted at May 30 2014 08:34 PM | Updated as of May 31 2014 04:34 AM

MANILA - The Philippine national football team will take on Palestine at midnight in the finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in Maldives.

The Azkals are making their first ever finals appearance in the tournament after knocking out host Maldives in the semifinals.

Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said winning the Challenge Cup is their main target in the tournament. A title win will catapult the team to the remaining ticket in the 2015 Asian Cup.

“This was the biggest goal for us when I joined in February, it wasn’t just the goal for myself but for the federation and Dan Palami. We set a couple of records beating teams here, but we want to win the whole thing,” said the German-American coach.

“We have a lot of respect for Palestine, we have watched them and they are one of the best teams in this tournament.”

The Filipino booters will face a tough Palestine squad.

Palestine has won 3 of its 4 matches and has yet to concede a goal in this year's tournament.

Palestine coach Jamal Mahmoud said his team is focusing at the task at hand, which is to beat the Azkals.

He said that the prospect of a first appearance at the AFC Asian Cup looks enticing, but the coach pointed out that they will have to beat the Philippines first.

"We hope for a good match against the Philippines. I know we are a good team and they have prepared well for the championship. Our players are all well and we hope to play a good match and we hope to win," said Mahmoud in the AFC website.

"We are concentrating only on the Philippines. Winning the match and going to the Asian Cup are the same so we are only thinking about the match and how to win."