MANILA, Philippines – Thirty five players have been called up by the Philippine Football Federation for the initial squad of the Philippines for the upcoming 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup which will be held in Bangkok starting November 24.
The squad list, which came from the Azkals Official Website on Thursday, October 26, consists of a blend from both the Philippine Football Peace Cup — where the Azkals won their first title in 99 years last September — and the Middle East training camp where they drew Bahrain 0-0 and lost to Kuwait 2-1 earlier this month.
The biggest name to be called up to the squad is Stephan Schrock who is currently playing his trade in TSG Hoffenheim in Germany’s professional league, Bundesliga. His last appearance for the Azkals was last September in the 2-0 win against Singapore.
Along with Schrock, head coach Michael Weiss has also included in the squad the Danish pair of Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena, who both played in the Middle East camp.
Weiss has also included two first choice goalkeepers in Neil Etheridge, who has been impressive in his loan move to English professional club Bristol Rovers FC, and Roland Muller, who is playing for MSV Duisburg, a German football club.
Rounding out the list are Marwin Angeles, Ian Araneta, Misagh Bahadoran, skipper Emelio Caligdong, Jeffrey Christiaens, Ref Cuaresma, Jason De Jong, Rob Gier, Andres Gonzales, brothers Angel and Juan Luis Guirado, Ray Jonsson, Nestorio Margarse Jr., Carlos De Murga, Lexton Moy, Paul Mulders, Demitrius Omphroy, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, Jason Sabio, Eduard Sacapano, Matthew Uy, Peace Cup MVP and top scorer Denis Wolf.
Superstar brothers Phil and James Younghusband were also included in the line-up, after previously being dropped from the squad for the Peace Cup.
Aside from the players above, a number of players have also been called up in the squad such as Marvin Angeles of Global, Mark Hartmann of Loyola, Manny Ott who last played in the friendly against Indonesia, Joshua Beloya, and Chris Greatwich, whose goals in the matches against Singapore and Vietnam paved the way to the Azkals’ rise to glory.
The squad is not yet final as it still has to be trimmed down to 22 for the actual competition — with only 20 players able to suit up per game.
The Azkals will open their campaign on November 24 against hosts Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium before facing Vietnam on November 27, they will round up the group stage with Myanmar as their final opponent on November 30.
Suzuki Cup, the prestigious biennial Southest Asian tournament, skyrocketed the Azkals to national consciousness after its historic prerformance in 2010 when it made the Final Four for the first time. – Rappler.com
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