Schaefer watched the Azkals beat Singapore 1-0 in a friendly in Cebu City last week and said it would not be easy to overcome the Philippines.
The Bangkok Post quoted the coach who said They are well-prepared for the tournament. They have strong and tall overseas-based players and seem to have a good system and their players understand each other well. So we must not underestimate them. We still have time to prepare for the match against them. But if our key players are fit and play according to our plan, then I’m sure that we will win.”
One of Thailand’s key players is striker Teerasil Dangda who scored a hat-trick in a friendly match against Bangladesh last Saturday.
Schaefer is feeling the pressure in football-crazy Thailand to guide his team to victory in the Suzuki Cup.
Thailand is bracketed in what may well be regarded as “the group of death” with such powerhouse teams as Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines while in Group B hosted by Malaysia has Singapore, Indonesia and Laos.
Schaefer told the Bangkok Post “Of course, winning the trophy is important. I have worked as coach in many countries for many years and there is always pressure.”
He said “If you are to become successful, the most important thing is we must be well-prepared and work hard. We will do our best to win the Suzuki Cup.”
The top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals, which will be played on a home-and-away basis, as will the final.
Schaefer has welcomed back striker Teerasil Dangda and midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao from injuries. Both played in Thailand’s 5-0 win over Bangladesh in a warm-up match on Saturday with Teerasil scoring a hat-trick.
The coach is reportedly keen on recalling Chonburi FC forward Pipob Onmo since he has only one accomplished striker in Dangda.
The Nation newspaper reported there is speculation that the 62 year old Schaefer would recall Chonburi captain Pipob, who initially withdrew from the team due to an injury. And the coach did not rule out the possibility of the experienced forward featuring in the team.
He said “He [Pipob] may get a recall. We’ll make the final decision three days before the start of the tournament.
Thailand have won the Southeast Asian championship three times in the last ten years but were shockingly knocked out in the first round in the previous edition which was won by Malaysia.
After his side’s 5-0 thrashing of Bangladesh in the latest warmup game on Saturday, the German trainer gave the players a day off before summoning them to the team’s hotel yesterday evening.
Schaefer warned players that any doubts about their fitness would mean they faced being axed from his final 22-man list.
“We now have 27 players, and
each of them has enough ability to be in the final 22man squad. Unfortunately, five of them will miss out on a place in the team. The physical condition of a player is a very important matter that we need to check carefully. We won’t risk including anyone who is not fit in the squad.”]]>
The win was the Philippines first triumph in an international tournament in 99 years and proved that the game has quickly been embraced by Filipino sports fans who expect bigger things in the years ahead.
Despite the absence of ace striker Phil Younghusband and brother James, both of whom have played a key role for the Azkals in the past, the new-look squad of coach Michael Weiss played well together and looked impressive.
The star of the 5-0 thrashing of Macau, striker Denis Wolf who scored a hat trick on Thursday opened the scoring in the 10th minute before skipper Chieffy Calidong made it 2-0 in the 35th minute when a Chinese-Taipei defender failed to clear the ball properly.
Promising youngster OJ Porteria ended a rousing first half for the Azkals when he put the ball into the back of the net off a breakaway in the 43rd minute to give the Azkals a comfortable 3-0 lead at the half.
Azkals goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño who has played well in the tournament in the absence of first choice keeper Neil Etheridge was beaten in the 52nd minute by Chinese-Taipei forward Chang Han to trim the Azkals lead to 3-1.
Tempers began to flare midway into the secomd half when talented Demetrius Omphroy got entangled with Chinese-Taipei’s midfielder Lo Chi En inside the penalty box with the visitors asking for a penalty.
Chinese Taipei Football Association Vice President Leo Fu Tsai, vehemently protested the call and was banished by the referee but the Chinese-Taipei official refused to leave the team bench which resulted in the game being delayed by almost ten minutes.
Chinese-Taipei wasted a chance to trim the Azkals lead further when they were awarded a free kick but forward Lo Chi An’s effort was tame and Sacapaño had no difficulty in saving the attempt.
Patreick Reichelt who scored against Guam and added another goal against Macau blew an opportunity to increase the Azkals lead in the 79th minute but his shot careened off the post.
Chinese Taipei had one more opportunity to cut the Filipinos lead after Jason De Jong was guilty of a poor tackle inside the box but skipper Yang Chao Hsun shot tamely as Sacapano judged it well and batted the ball out for a corner which the Chinese-Taipei squad failed to capitalize as the Azkals cleared the ball upfield..
The win by the Azkals was the first scored over Chinese-Taipei in their last seven matches going back to 1960.
The last time the Philippines won an international tournament was in a gold medal performance at the 1913 Far Eastern Games when the Philippines beat China.
The performance was a vast improvement from the opening game in which the nationals beat Guam 1-0 on a fortuitous
late goal by Patrick Reichelt and set up what may well be a classic encounter against a tough Chinese-Taipei squad
whuch drew with Macau 2-2 on opening day but came back to score a 2-0 win over Guam to earn a total of 4 points as against the
Philippines 6 points.
The result of Saturday’s match will decide the winner of the Peace Cup with a draw sufficing to see the Azkals triumph
but judging from the post-match interview of Denis Wolf who scored a hat-trick the Azkals want to go out on a high note and win as
Wolf told TJ Manotoc of ABS-CBN Studio 23 where the game was telecast, “I want to win this game for the people.”
Wolf scored his first goal off a superb ball by young Demetrius Omphroy in the 21 st minute after an earlier miss when
off a short corner taken by Christaens he shot wide of the right upright.
Ian Araneta who again misfired with a weak header in the 7th minute, mis-timed his run in the 15th before he stumbled in
the 24th minute and flubbed a shot on goal in the 28th minute was replaced by Jason Sabio a few minutes later.
Wolf got caught by a wicked elbow on his forehead which was bloodied seconds later and he had to be attended to on the sidelines
but Macau was also reduced to ten men when one of their players was hit on the back of the head by the ball.
Wolf continued to prowl around in the box and was rewarded when he scored his second goal in the 45th minute after he pounced on a
loose ball in a goalmouth scramble.
Carli De Murga added to the score not long after halftime as the Azkals played some free flowing, attacking football that
ripped open the Macau defense and showed the potential of the Azkals side under German coach Michael Weiss even in the absence
of ace striker Phil Younghusband and brother James who often carried the scoring load for the Philippines in the past.
Wolf got his well-deserved hattrick after a shifty move by OJ Porteria on the right flank. The youngster got around his defender and made a
perfect pass to the striker who made no mistake with a well-timed shot to put the Azkals ahead 4-0 against a badly outplayed
Macau eleven who rang several changes but could hardly show anything for their efforts.
Riechelt rounded up the scoring when he picked up a neat pass from Porterio off a short corner to give the Azkals a 5-0 lead in the
Reichelt sent a shot just wide on the 80th minute after Misagh Bahadoran who was obviously aching to score a goal showed
uncanny dribbling skills before sending the ball inches wide of the left upright before he was denied by the Macau goalkeeper as
he raced forward into the box.
Macau had one futile attempt on the counter-attack with the ball being sent harmlessly into the side netting.
Bahadoran slipped a pass through to Marvin Angeles with the Macau defender almost adding to their misery with an own goal.
When the final whistle blew after two minutes of stoppage time, the Azkals were besieged by fans who enjoyed one of their most
attractive and rewarding performances which clearly underscored the reality of the improvement in Philippine football.
In post match interview the “Player of the Match” Dennis Wolfe said “This match was very important to us.” Asked by TJ
Manotoc about his thoughts on his hat-trick Wolfe in a magnanimously correct gesture said “Without my teammates
I’m nothing” citing Omphroy and Reichelt even as he stressed that the Azkals “always try to give our best.”
Coach Weiss expressed the hope that football fans will turn out in large numbers to provide support to the Azkals who are
looking to win their first internationak tournament.
Weiss was clearly elated over the win. He said “It was actually a very nice performance. We can see cohesion in the team that
is working together.”
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The power of sport to unite people in camaraderie has never been more evident than in the Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world. This July, over 200 countries will gather in London to celebrate the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
The modern Olympics also carries the spirit of peace through the Olympic Truce, which builds on the ancient Olympic tradition of Ekecheiria that calls for a truce during the Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes and relevant persons at the Games.
In the run-up to the 2012 Games, Olympic Truce events have been taking place across the globe. The British Embassy Manila joined this celebration by holding a football invitational tournament dubbed “Time Out for Football”. The event was held on 19 June at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex in Zamboanga City. 120 players representing stakeholders of lasting peace demonstrated the power of sport as a tool for peace. Members of civil society, government, the security sector and the diplomatic community played in the symbolic match, underscoring the need for all sectors of society to make a team effort to contribute to peace building.
“I firmly believe that today’s games show how sport can bring people together, and that it can teach people the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. With excellence, friendship and respect, we can transcend discord, disunity and animosity,” said British Ambassador Stephen Lillie. “I hope that this event is only the first of many more occasions where sport is used to promote an inclusive and lasting peace in the country.”
Ambassador Lillie acknowledged that here in the Philippines, as in other parts of the world, conflict has had a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of innocent people. “So I admire greatly the perseverance of all those who strive to solve long-standing conflicts and build peace in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country. The UK is honoured to play a small part in this national project, both as a member of the International Contact Group for the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and as a friend and partner of the Philippines, sharing the lessons and insights from our own peace process in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“I am optimistic that a peace agreement that truly represents the interests of the Bangsamoro and the wider community in Mindanao and across the Philippines is within sight. The time is right for a lasting and just peace, that will benefit the development of the whole country. I know that ordinary people in Mindanao and Sulu are also willing to do their part to achieve peace, despite the difficulties involved. I see NGOs and local communities positively engaged in building understanding through inter-faith dialogue. I see local and national policy makers voicing their views and working hard to find solutions to the difficult issues that will spell the difference in achieving a truly lasting peace in the southern Philippines,” he concluded.
The match dovetailed a football clinic hosted by the British Embassy and the Zamboanga City Government in cooperation with the Zamboanga Football Association. Around 100 school children participated in the activity. They come from different backgrounds – a mix of different faiths, cultures and ethnicity – to reflect diversity and inclusion, values at the heart of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Note to Editors:
Photos attached, with the following caption:
(Truce 1.jpg) (Truce 2.jpg) (Truce 3.jpg) About 100 school children participated in a football clinic hosted by the British Embassy and the Zamboanga City Government, in cooperation with the Zamboanga Football Association. The clinic was conducted on 16 and 17 June at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex in Zamboanga City. This activity is part of a series of events dubbed “Time Out for Football” that celebrates the Olympic Truce. The Truce builds on the ancient Olympic tradition of Ekecheiria that calls for a truce during the Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes and relevant persons at the Games. The participants came from different backgrounds – a mix of different faiths, cultures and ethnicity – to reflect diversity and inclusion, values at the heart of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The football exhibition games were between mixed teams from: Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, International Monitoring Team, Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, Zamboanga City Government, Non-governmental organisation engaged in peace-building, student athletes and the Embassies of Australia, Norway, U delegation, Malaysia and the US.
The football clinic for young athletes aged 12-14 were from public and private Catholic and Islamic schools in Zamboanga City.
The UN Resolution on the Olympic Truce was inspired by the ancient 9th Century BC Greek tradition of Ekecheiria (“Olympic Truce”), which calls for a truce during the Olympic Games to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage and participation of athletes and relevant persons at the Games, thus mobilising the youth of the world in support of peace. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) revived the Truce in 1992 and the first United Nations (UN) General Assembly Resolution was passed.
The United Kingdom sponsored the record breaking UN Resolution on the Olympic Truce entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. In an unprecedented show of support, all 193 UN Member States co-sponsored the Resolution at the UN in New York, signing up to the ideals of peace and conflict resolution and the premise that individuals, not countries, compete against each other in sport in peaceful competition without the burden of politics, religion, or racism.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta told the Manila Standard that Malaysia had invited the Azkals to play one match in Kuala Lumpur on June 1 against the Malaysian national team which won the gold medal in the last Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta and the PFF had accepted the invitation.
Araneta said that the Indonesian national team which lost in the finals of the SEA Games to Malaysia will visit Manila for a match against the Azkals on June 5, to be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium or in the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Since China “hasn’t responded to the PFF invitation to play the Azkals” in a celebration of Philippine Independence Day, Araneta said he had contacted the president of the Football Association of Thailand Dato Worawi Makudi,inviting the Thai national team to play the Azkals on June 12.
Araneta told us he hopes to finalize an agreement with Thailand during the upcoming visit of the football association president to Manila. In case Thailand is unable to make the trip Araneta said he plans to invite a middle-east country for the Independence Day match.
In the latest world rankings by the governing body for football, FIFA, the Philippines coached by Michael Weiss moved up eight places to 148 with Thailand down two slots from its previous ranking to 141 with Indonesia down four places to 151 and Malaysia also down 4 places to 156.
Araneta also indicated that after the current five nations rugby tournament ends on Saturday the Rizal Memorial football field will be closed to prepare it for the June matches.]]>
24 year old Lee Gyeong-hwan, a midfielder for the Daejeon Citizen and
Suwon Samsung Blue
Wings from 2009 to 2011 was found his home after reportedly jumping off from his apartment building according to a report by the Incheon police who said he died on the way to hospital.
The janitor who reported the death to the police said “I heard a thud outside and I went to check. There he lay dead”
A police official said as there was a CCTV recording of Lee getting on an elevator of the building just minutes before his fall, it is “certain” that he took his own life.
Lee and his widowed mother were having financial difficulties since the lifetime ban imposed on Lee who was kicked out of the league over match-fixing allegations. He was also on probation for three years and directed to carry out 300 hours of community service.
A large scale crackdown by the K-League last year resulted in arrests and indictments of dozens of active and former players, several of whom were given lifetime bans from football.
Prosecutors last year charged 46 current and former players and 11 criminal gang members and bookmakers for fixing the results of 15 matches in 2010.
The players were accused of fixing games after accepting bribes from betting syndicates and all of them were banned for life.
Lee’s was the third suicide linked to the scandal that erupted last year. In October 2011 a former coach of the military football cluyb was found dead in another apparent suicide after being sentenced to two years in prison and probation for his involvement in match fixing.
In May, 29 year old midfielder Jeong Jong-Kwan who played for a third division side in Korea also committed suicide in a Seoul hotel while being investigated.]]>
America’s most popular sport – American Football – is coming to town in an organized fashion with the formation of the National Gridiron League Pilipinas.
Former national chess master Sammy Estimo informed the Manila Standard that his group has already been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the promotion of American football here. It includes International Chess Grandmaster Eugene Torre and Elmer Ato, a known authority on American football.
Estimo said they have a contract with Ridell.U.S.A for the supply of Gridiron uniforms and gadgets for players while SM Land has also provided the NGLP with a rent-free 33,000 sq. meter area at the Mall of Asia which we can use for training and tournament purposes.
The lawyer-sportsman said the contract with SM Land “permits us to use the area for other activities like football, baseball, cricket, cycling runs and shows, car shows, fun runs, concerts, etc.”
Estimo proudly announced that SM “has promised to help us realize our goals.”
At present the group needs people who could help in these endeavors and is looking for responsible, sports-minded individuals who could join the NGLP board and help with the group’s objectives.]]>
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Philippine Azkals coach Michael Weiss is eager to face China in a Philippine Independence Day match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on June 12 as part of a possible three-game stint with teams from Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand on June 5 and 8 which are FIFA playdates.
Weiss welcomed the initiative of Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and Azkals team manager Dan Palami in arranging the matches. Weiss said “this is very good” even as he welcomed the plan to play one game, possibly against Vietnam or Thailand, in Bacolod City which is a hotbed of football..
Weiss said the Azkals “will be very strong” since the lineup will include Stephan Schrock, Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena. Paul Mulders and Neil Etheridge and possibly Manny Ott reinforcing the bronze medal winners in the recently concluded AFC Challenge Cup where explosive striker Phil Younghusband scored six goals to win the coveted “Golden Boot” award.
Weiss told the Manila Standard that he had coached China’s under 20 squad some eight years ago and “I know all these players and perhaps eight or nine players will be from the under 20 pool.”
The Azkals coach said China “is a very good team, no question” even though they failed to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, finishing third in their group behind Iraq and Jordan although they beat Jordan 3-1 in a no-bearing game.
Meantime, Weiss said that one of the reasons for the Philippine Azkals failing to make it to the Challenge Cup finals aside from the absence of key players Jason Sabio, James Younghusband and Angel Guirado in the semi final game against Turkmenistan which the Philippines lost 2-1 after holding on to a 1-0 lead going into the 80th minute, was “the lack of physical fitness.”
He said “the only reason why this is there is because I don’t have a team which was promised us from the 9th of January until the end of the tournament more or less with some adjustments for club commitments which is understandable, but it never happened like that.”
Weiss lamented the fact that from January 9 to the departure for Dubai on February 7 he had the team for “not more than six to eight days.”
The German coach said that during the Dubai training camp “we were able to work a little bit on physical fitness but I was readying them for match fitness there. I gave them three hard matches and they performed very well, they had to play defensively strong and we pushed through it. We got a little physical fitness there, but not too much.”
He noted that when they returned from Dubai “some players like Angel Guirado and his brother and Carli de Murga had to immediately play a league match and they had no holiday whatsoever.”
Weiss said despite the lack of preparation they achieved a minor miracle in Nepal under difficult circumstances even as he stressed that “if we had the preparation like I had last year, we would have played in the finals (in Nepal) and played in top fashion.”]]>