The Philippine national men’s football team added another tough tournament to its busy schedule as part of its preparations for the upcoming 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
The Azkals participate in the 2012 Nehru Cup in New Delhi, India from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2, in which they will collide against Kenya, India, Jordan and Maldives.
Palami said they accepted the invitation to join the tournament because they want to expose the nationals to as many matches as possible to get a greater chance of winning the Suzuki Cup title.
“We aim to get the championship, but it is easier said than done,” Palami said. “If we can have more camps together, that will be the key to our success.”
The Azkals had originally scheduled a training camp in the United States that conflicted with the India tilt. Palami said they moved the camp to an earlier date – Aug. 3 until Aug. 17 – where they are set to play friendly matches against Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire and the US Virgin Islands national team.
After competing in India, the Azkals will return to the country in September to continue their training camp before plunging back into action for the Long Teng Cup, possibly in Bacolod City, which is aimed to take place from Oct. 12 to Oct. 16.
The nationals also hope to play their last friendly match on Nov. 15 against one of the tough teams participating in the Suzuki Cup.
Now considered as one of the favorites to win the crown, the Azkals are looking to surpass their surprising semifinal run in the 2010 edition of the biennial tournament.
But the task won’t be easy for the nationals, as they have been drawn with 2008 titlists Vietnam and traditional football powerhouse Thailand, as well as the champions of the tournament qualifiers in October.
The 2012 Suzuki Cup will take place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 22 in Thailand and Malaysia.