Azkals begin training for World Cup qualifier

By TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2011 06:23 PM | Updated as of May 11 2011 06:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - More than a month and a half after advancing to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup finals, the Philippine Football Team Azkals are back in training.

ABS-CBN got an exclusive look at the team at the Ayala Alabang Country Club where coach Hans Michael Weiss focused purely in conditioning for the morning session.

Present at the first day of training were co-team captains Aly Borromeo and Chieffy Caligdong, mainstays Anton del Rosario, Yanti Bersales and the rest of the pool of the Men's team.

Ian Araneta was on the sidelines still nursing a groin injury, and Phil and James Younghusand still had commitments to attend to.

Interestingly, the team had a handful of Fil-foreigners trying out again.

Ex-Azkal player Filipino-British Chad Gould, Filipino-Australian Leigh Gunn, talented US Football Developmental Academy trainees Jose Porteira and Neil Ignacio, and 6'4" Filipino-Swedish striker Gustav Sjoberg will train with the Azkals this week to try out for a slot in the team for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Talented striker Nate Burkey from the US also tried out for the team. He admitted its been a bit tough adjusting to the heat but looks forward to be able to contribute to the team. Just being here to try out is also already a 5-year-in-the-making dream come true.

Borromeo was happy to get back into training. He says the time frame of about 2 months to get back into fighting form for Sri Lanka at the end of June would be enough. He looks forward to training camps and practice games in Cebu and Germany leading up to their match in Sri Lanka.

Ryan Abrecca, a Filipino fan who has been based in Sri Lanka for 7 years, visited the practice. He shared that most of the 300 Pinoys based in Sri Lanka had already requested for leaves on the day of the match.