Foreign-based Azkals Guirado, Cagara, Lucena, Mulders cleared for Suzuki Cup

InterAKTV file photo/Markku Seguerra

The Philippine national men’s football team got a boost for its campaign in the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup this month after top foreign-based players were given clearance by their clubs to join the Azkals for the tournament.

Angel Guirado, who was earlier ruled out by his Indian club for the tournament, as well as Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Paul Mulders have all been released by their respective clubs to play in the group stages of the Suzuki Cup, according to Azkals team manager Dan Palami.

“Except si Jerry who might be available only after the first game,” Palami told InterAKTV.

The Azkals battle host Thailand in their opening match on November 24.

Guirado and Mulders are expected to provide more attacking options for the Azkals, while Cagara and Lucena would beef up the team’s backline.

The status of Stephan Schrock and Roland Mueller, who both play in Germany, as well as Neil Etheridge are still uncertain for the tournament, Palami said.

Despite being hailed as the biggest football competition in Southeast Asia, the Suzuki Cup does not fall on international match dates set by world governing body FIFA. This means that clubs are not obliged to release players for the tournament.

After their match against Thailand, the Azkals will play Vietnam on November 27 and Myanmar on November 30 during the group stages of the Suzuki Cup, where they look to surpass their historic semifinal run in the same tournament two years ago.

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