Palami says planning is crucial to Azkals’ campaign

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James Joseph Younghusband (right) of the Azkals kick the ball past Ebrahin Ahmed Habib Ahmed of Bahrain during an international friendly match between the Philippines and Bahrain at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on October 7, 2016. Photo by Dj Diosina

Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami said that extensive planning is essential if the Philippines is to be successful in the Asian Cup qualifiers.

The Azkals will play in Group F during the third round of games against Tajikis­tan, Nepal and Yemen in a home and away series that will kick off in March.

Palami is concerned with the frequent traveling that the team must endure in its bid to clinch a ticket to the final tournament.

“There’s going to be a lot of traveling again. That was the first impression that I had with the draw,” Palami said.

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Palami explained that travel preparations would play a big factor in the outcome of their games in the competition.

“It (travel) is actually an important element in the preparations and in the game. When we had problems with the travel arrangements in the World Cup qualifiers, in some of the games it actually spelled the difference between playing well and playing mediocre,” he stated.

He stressed that they do not want to repeat the same mistakes they committed in the second round of the joint World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers last year.

“We need to plan and we need to make sure that we will be ready for it. This is a big chance for us to be part of the Asian Cup so we’ll make sure that we wont waste it,” he said.

Palami mentioned that they are studying the chance of holding friendly games in between qualifier matches to bolster the team’s capability.

The Philippines will open its campaign with a game against Nepal at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila on March 28 followed by a match in Tajikistan in June.

Palami said that their travel arrangements would begin this month.

“We are making the arrangements already and I am quite certain that knowing the lessons we had in the World Cup qualifiers, won’t make us repeat them again,” he concluded.

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