MANILA, Philippines - Racing against time ahead of the all-important AFC Challenge Cup campaign in May, newly-appointed Philippine National Men's Football Team coach Thomas Dooley has released an invitation to players for his first training session with the squad on Friday, February 14.
As expected, the German-born American coach, who recently signed a one-year contract with the Azkals, selected national team mainstays Phil and James Younghusband, Chris Greatwich, Chieffy Caligdong, and Ed Sacapano, among others.
The Philippines, which retained its 127th position in the latest FIFA Ranking released yesterday, February 13, are scheduled to face Malaysia and Azerbaijan in March 1 and 5 friendlies while an ASEAN Football Federation selection is also set to go up against them in a date yet to be announced in Bacolod.
The former USA skipper and World Cup veteran Dooley has been present in the past few United Football League matches at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig to scout players. The UFL, in an official statement, assured its backing for the Azkals in their Challenge Cup drive.
Impressing Dooley are youngsters OJ Porteria from Kaya, who is currently one of the leading scorers in the league, Mark Hartmann, who is now with Global after a brilliant three year run with Loyola, up and coming defender Amani Aguinaldo, and Green Archers United keeper Patrick Deyto.
Anton del Rosario, Nate Burkey, and Chad Gould will have the opportunity to return to the squad this time after not suiting up for the Azkals in the past months under coach Hans Michael Weiss' stewardship.
New faces are also aplenty in the pool with Charles Pettys, Simone Rota, Nick O'Donnell and Curt Dizon all yet to be capped by the Azkals as Jason de Jong and Carli de Murga still make it despite battling with injuries in recent weeks.
The following players made it to the 34-man pool invited by Dooley, who will start their training tonight at the Emperador:
Jose Elmer Porteria - Kaya FC
Christopher Greatwich - Kaya FC
Emelio Caligdong - Green Archers United FC
James Younghusband - Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
Marvin Angeles - Global FC
Marwin Angeles - Global FC
Carlos De Murga - Global FC
Jerry Barbaso - Global FC
Mark Hartmann - Global FC
Jason De Jong - Global FC
Amani Aguinaldo - Global FC
Patrick Deyto - Green Archers United FC
Phillip Younghusband - Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
Jeffrey Christiaens - Global FC
Misagh Bahadoran - Global FC
Anton Del Rosario - Kaya FC
Charles Pettys - Global FC
Simone Rota - Stallion FC
Eduard Sacapano - Philippine Army FC
Patrick Reichelt - Unattached
Nathaniel George Burkey - Pachanga Diliman FC
Ryan Lerio - Philippine Air Force FC
Jake Hugo - Philippine Air Force FC
Rudolf Bebangco - Philippine Air Force FC
Nick O'Donnell - Kaya FC
Paolo Pascual - Global FC
Curt Dizon - Union Internacional Manila
Reymark Fernandez - Green Archers United FC
Ronnie Aguisanda - Green Archers United FC
Deo Segunial - Pachanga Diliman FC
Nathan Octavio - Pachanga Diliman FC
Milan Justin Arends - Stallion FC
Kenshiro Daniels - Kaya FC
Chad Gould - Unattached
The Azkals will try to improve from its bronze medal finish in the 2012 edition of the Challenge Cup and will try to win it all in Maldives on May 19-30 for an automatic slot in the prestigious 2015 AFC Asian Cup. - Rappler.com