Azkals have long way to go after loss to Taiwan
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals admitted they still have their work cut out for them following the “wakeup call” of a 1-2 loss to Taiwan in Friday night’s second Philippine Football Peace Cup at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
Assembling a virtually full-strength squad that was playing only its sixth game this year as a unit, the Azkals discovered that this doesn’t necessarily translate into good result as the more compact Taiwanese got the better of their matchup.
“The first game after a long time is always difficult. We have seen that it’s not enough just to have big names there, but that it’s important for them to be together,” said team manager Dan Palami.
The Azkals got caught on the counter by the Taiwanese, who made them pay for slowly coming back on defense with Li Mao (14th) and Lin Chang-lun (65th) scoring the important goals. James Younghusband accounted for the Azkals’ lone goal – a header in first-half injury time.
“It’s a disappointing result we all know that,” said coach Michael Weiss.
“We have to make a clear analysis about it. We were facing a strong opponent – a surprisingly strong opponent but it’s a good eye opener at this point in time. We still have enough time to adjust and the main thing that I see is we should really try to work with the national team on as many occasions as possible,” he added.
The Taiwanese will gun for another win today against Pakistan to wrap up the title that the Azkals won last year.
For their part, the Pinoy booters will try to bounce back on Tuesday against the Pakistanis.
The Peace Cup serves as the kickoff for the Azkals’ buildup for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Maldives.
Palami asked for cooperation among football stakeholders as they move forward with the preparations.
“We hope that the clubs, schools and all stakeholders in Phl football that if we are to reach the Asian Cup, we really need to have players more often. I would like to make an appeal now for the clubs and the other stakeholders to really exert extra effort to allow the team to be together for longer periods of time,” said Palami.