The Philippine national men’s football team will not be playing in the 2012 Nehru Cup in India this August after organizers picked another country to complete the cast in the five-nation meet.
Maldives was chosen to join India, Syria, Jordan, and Kenya in the tournament. Aside from the Azkals, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Afghanistan were also considered for an invitation by the Indian Football Federation.
But the news drew a sigh of relief from coach Hans Michael Weiss.
“It is difficult for us (to join the Nehru Cup),” Weiss said, adding that they only have a week to rest from their training camp in the United States, slated on Aug. 3 to Aug. 17, before preparing for the Nehru Cup, which is scheduled to run from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2.
The Azkals, however, will still be busy preparing for the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November. After a possible in September stint in the Long Teng Cup, which is still being organized, the Azkals will have another training camp in Qatar from Oct. 5 to Oct. 16, when they plan to face tough Middle Eastern squads.
Weiss said that the Azkals also got an invitation to participate in a tournament in Japan before playing against Singapore possibly in Cebu on Nov. 15 as their last game before flying to Thailand for the Suzuki Cup.
Drawn in Group A with Thailand, Vietnam and the winner of the tournament qualifiers, the Azkals are looking to surpass their semifinal run two years ago in the Suzuki Cup, which will take place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 22 and will be aired on AKTV.
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