The Philippine Azkals’ training for their title defense in Peace Cup in Manila started on Monday under American coach Thomas Dooley. The Azkals are also gearing up for the bigger Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November in Vietnam.
Dooley, who coached the Azkals to a historic first runner-up finish in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup on May, said that he is expecting the intensive training to sharpen up his wards
“We need to employ more good touches and movements because that’s important in a match,” Dooley told The Manila Times via text message on Monday. “We had 13 players in training so far and I’m expecting not more than 20 players who will join us from abroad.”
The Peace Cup is slated on September 1 to 9, at the Rizal Memorial Football Field while the Suzuki Cup will be held on November 22 to December 20, in Vietnam and in Singapore.
Team captain Anton Del Rosario, brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Filipino-Japanese Daisuke Sato, Patrick Deyto, Amani Agui–naldo, Chris Greatwich, OJ Porteria, Simon Rota, Jason De Jong and Chieffy Calig–dong compose the team.
“There are said to be training camps in the USA and Middle East prior to the Suzuki Cup but for Peace Cup, the preparation will be all local,” said Del Rosario.
Dooley also said that he is confident the players will be at their peak in terms of strength and conditioning in time for the two tournaments.
With a current Federation International Football de Association rank of 128, The Philippines will play in Group A with host Vietnam and Indonesia in the Suzuki Cup.