Younghusbands out of Azkals' Peace Cup roster
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Philippine national men's football team’s roster for the upcoming Philippine Football Peace Cup has been revealed, with some notable omissions.
The official website of the men's national football team on Sunday posted the list of the players called up by head coach Hans Michael Weiss for the four-nation tournament.
- Goalkeepers: Eduardo Sacapano, Ref Cuaresma
- Defenders: Roel Gener, David Basa, Matthew Uy, Demetrius Omphroy, Jason Sabio, Carli de Murga, Jeffrey Christiaens
- Midfielders: Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong, Nestorio Margarse, Patrick Reichelt, Jason de Jong, OK Porteria, Misagh Bahadoran, Marvin Angeles, Marwin Angeles, Anto Gonzales
- Forwards: Denis Wolf, Ian Araneta
Notably absent from the roster is striker Phil Younghusband and his brother, midfielder James Younghusband.
In a statement, the Azkals management and coaching staff explained that their decision was related to the team's preparations for the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November.
"The 2012 Suzuki Cup will be more difficult since we are not coming in as a surprise team anymore. Also, despite the renewed work on our grassroots training program, the Philippines is still a greenhorn compared to our ASEAN neighbors," they said.
"We refuse to let these difficulties stop us from training better and working harder as a team. We still aim to win and not just participate in the Suzuki Cup. As we enter a more rigorous phase of preparations for the tournament, the PFF (Philippine Football Federation ) has lined up a series of games and training camps," they added.
"Given this grueling schedule and the demands it will entail from the team, we have asked the players to give their unequivocal commitment to participate fully in the preparations."
The Azkals management and coaching staff said they "expect our players to work harder than ever this year," but added that "not everyone in the team could assure us of this."
"A few have already signified their unavailability for some crucial activities leading up to the tournament," the team management added.
No players were mentioned, but the Azkals management said that they understand "that family obligations and club/work commitments sometimes take precedence."
The Younghusband brothers both play for the Loyola Meralco Sparks in the United Football League.
With the Younghusband brothers and other players out of the line-up, "the coaching staff will instead make adjustments in the game plan and in the roster of players, starting from the Philippine Football Peace Cup."
The Peace Cup will kick off on September 24 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. In their first game of the tournament on September 25, the Azkals will face Guam.