PH Azkals undergo massive buildup

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 22 2012 01:29 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2012 07:14 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine men’s football team management and coaching staff are trying to arrange as many as 20 matches here and abroad for the Azkals before they embark on their quest for glory in the ASEAN region in late November.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami, who signed a contract with Columbian Autocar Corp. (CAC) yesterday extending KIA’s sponsorship to another year, said the Phl Football Federation is finalizing a training camp in the US in August as well as stints in Bahrain and Japan.

Highlight of the US trip will be friendlies with Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, possibly Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew, and one or two teams from the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).

In between, Phl is poised to host the four-nation Long Teng Cup with Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Macau on Oct. 12-16 at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

“The Azkals are continuing to prepare for top competitions,” said Palami after signing the contract extension with CAC president Ginia Domingo, VP for marketing Dodie Gañac, and marketing services manager Palermo “Boying” Soriano at the Azkals Sports Bar.

Azkals coach Michael Weiss said the exposure is needed to make his wards fully equipped against the likes of Malaysia, Vietnam and other SEA powerhouses.

“The more we can go outside and gain valuable experience, the better,” he said.

“If we can have as many matches, as many overseas tournaments as possible in the next five months, I think we can really develop a very strong team. We have America, Bahrain and Japan in the pipeline so we have let’s say 10-day camps, 3-4 matches each, and Long Teng Cup; if we can play 20 matches until the ASEAN tournament, that would be very, very helpful,” he added.

As sponsor and official transport provider, KIA will be with the Azkals in all these endeavors, providing service vehicles as well as financial support.

“ The Azkals stand for most of what our brand stands for, most especially the spirit of competitiveness,” said Domingo. “We want to show the public that KIA is now a reliable and dependable brand and it is far more adventurous in styling.”