Philippine national football coach Hans Michael Weiss expects the Azkals to perform well in the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November even without some of its foreign-based members.
“Even without the [foreign-based] pros, we’ll have a strong team,” Weiss said. “We have to focus more on the locals.”
Top players such as Stephan Schrock of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga first division and goalkeepers Neil Etheridge of Fulham FC in the English Premier League and Roland Mueller of MSV Duisburg in the Bundesliga second division are still uncertain about suiting up in the Suzuki Cup.
“If there is any chance of getting them, we will do,” Weiss said, adding that the situation is similar to the 2012 Asian Football Federation Challenge Cup last March, when Etheridge joined the team at the last minute before being released by his squad.
Many foreign-born Azkals such as Phil and James Younghusband, Angel Guirado, and Carli de Murga have moved to the Philippines, making them available for the national team. The Azkals also rely on top homegrown talents such as Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta.
The Azkals are set to fly to the United States for their training camp this August as part of their preparations for the 2012 Suzuki Cup slated from Nov. 22 to Dec. 24 in Thailand and Malaysia.