The 23 Azkals to face Sri Lanka in the World Cup Qualifiers

The Philippine national team have released the 23 man squad to play in the First Round of the World Cup Qualifiers against Sri Lanka. With a mixture of experienced players and new Azkals the team look to build on their recent success, qualifying for the Semi-Final of the Suzuki Cup and qualifying from the AFC Challenge Cup Group Stage for the first time in their history. Here is the list of players, courtesy of the lovely Araceli Socorro S. Estose:


Neil Etheridge and Edward Sacapano


Aly Borromeo, Rob Gier, Stephan Schrock, Roel Gener, Anton Del Rosario, Ray Jonsson, Jason Sabio and Dennis Cagara


Manuel Ott, James Younghusband, Jerry Lucena, Emelio ‘Chieffy’ Caligdong, James Rochlitz, Paul Mulders, Ricardo Becite and Nestorio Margarse


Ian Araneta, Phil Younghusband, Angel Guirado, Misagh Bahadoran and Nate Burkey

After the recent loss to the UFL All Stars, reported here as the Payatas and Kasiglahan kids watched the Azkals for the first game, the Azkals have faced more criticism than usual. However it must be remembered that the team have been trying out different players in positions, trying to let the latest Azkals settle into the squad and even experimenting with new formations. Indeed it’s likely that the Azkals will field the 4-3-3 that they used for most of the match against the UFL All Stars. Dominating much of possession there is a lot to be excited about with the Azkals. James Younghusband had a great game in central midfield with some pin-point accuracy and a few more friendly games would really help the team.

It seems Coach Weiss is playing a system more akin to the Arsenal and Barcelona style of Total Football. Developed in the 1970s by FIFA Manager of the Century Rinus Michels, Total Football makes positions fluid, any player can cover for other players as defenders will move forward and play in midfield and even attack. Arsenal and Barcelona, however, have made the defence more fixed while their attackive players switch position. This allows the defence to be more organised while the attack has a fluid danger making players difficult to mark. With Chieffy, P. Younghusband and Burkey all switching roles frequently during the last game once the team is used to the new system it could lead to devastating effects. Predicted line-up and formation:


Schrock            Gier            Borromeo           Cagara

J. Younghusband                    Lucena                    Jonsson

P. Younghusband               Guirado               Caligdong

Tickets sold out quickly for the July 3 match, within two hours the P200 and P300 had all gone. As tweeted earlier by myself on @roymondous, where you can find the latest Azkals news and tweetcasted Azkals games, it just goes to prove that the Philippines have become a heavyweight in South-East Asian football and could fill a huge stadium like Indonesia and Malaysia.

There is a lot to look forward to so subscribe to this blog and follow @roymondous to hear the latest news on the Azkals and follow the games live on Twitter.


21 thoughts on “The 23 Azkals to face Sri Lanka in the World Cup Qualifiers

  1. lola basyang June 7, 2011 / 21:36

    “Tickets sold out quickly for the July 3 match, within two hours the P200 and P300 had all gone. As tweeted earlier by myself on @roymondous, where you can find the latest Azkals news and tweetcasted Azkals games, it just goes to prove that the Philippines have become a heavyweight in South-East Asian football and could fill a huge stadium like Indonesia and Malaysia.”

    So? There is simply NO connection between fan enthusiasm and the purported quality of the players. Heavyweight in Southeast Asia? Where did you get that? I want to have that whichever you are smoking.

  2. raskolnik June 8, 2011 / 00:30

    @lola basyang:

    stop exposing your lack of reading comprehension. nowhere in that paragraph you quoted that mr. moore mentioned anything about the quality of players. he was referring to the Philippines being football heavyweights in terms of attracting spectators and generating interest particularly for the national team. you can counter check this with the woeful attendances from other “smaller” countries in the SEA region, such as Laos and Cambodia, that have hosted international qualifiers. Hosts Laos could only draw 2,000 spectators when its national team played during the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup qualification in Vientiane. Although Cambodia managed 12,000 to 15,000 spectators for its nationals in the 2008 qualifiers in Phnom Penh, there is reason to believe that the Philippines can easily double or triple those figures, provided a stadium with such a capacity exists. if that’s not “heavy” enough, i don’t know what is. for you, perhaps, the effects of rugby, the solvent kind.

  3. Mike Limpag June 8, 2011 / 00:31

    Good point Lola Basyang. But perhaps Roy simply meant that like the Southeast Asian heavyweights, the Philippine football team can now fill up a stadium in hours.

    Roy, congratulations. You now have a critic. Treat him well.

    • Roy June 8, 2011 / 01:37

      Haha thank you Mike.

      Thanks for your opinion too Lola Basyang. I do believe that the Philippines are moving very close to being one of the best teams in South East Asia. Their shock win over last year’s Suzuki Cup champions Vietnam may have been the start, but their 1-0 losses in both legs to Indonesia was marred by the controversy that both legs were played in Indonesia. Since then they’ve gone on to tie with Palestine and Burma, both very good teams, before really outclassing Bangladesh. With more players improving the team at each game they have a good chance of beating Indonesia or Malaysia when they play them next. The Philippines are no longer the underdogs in their games, they are considered to have a good chance of winning against any other South East Asian team.

      Added to that the fan base is growing hugely. The 20,000 or so tickets sold out very quickly, plus Bacalod estimates were 20,000-30,000.

      It may be the case that you don’t like the team Lola and that’s your choice and something I don’t wish to take away. If it is the case, however, I will say I respectfully disagree and that’s the great thing about football – everyone can have different opinions and as long as you’re respectful with them it’s great entertainment. However the Azkals are being great respect to the country and I think Filipinos are right to be proud of them for representing their country. Win or lose, they are Filipinos and though I’m not Filipino myself by birth, I will support them regardless of the result.

      Thank you po.

  4. e June 8, 2011 / 01:35

    @LOLO not LOLA basyang
    balik ka ulit grade school iho ha. Read instructions carefully. siguro isa ka doon sa pasikat na mga estudyante na gusto mauna makatapos ng exam at mauna mag pass ng paper para magmukhang matalino kasi wow kabilis natapos ng test. pero yun pala ZERO ang score. rofl lmao. Di kasi nagbabasa ng maayos.

    here’s the thing that striked your ire, and that is the word “heavyweight”
    … heavyweight in South-East Asian football and could fill a huge stadium like Indonesia and Malaysia.

    nabasa mo lang ang word na HEAVYWEIGHT pagkaintindi mo kaagad is yung USUAL AUTOMATIC UNDERSTANDING na ONE OF THE BEST sa South-East Asian football. Yet you forgot na may kasaling AND na kasali sa sentence.

    Kung binasa mo lang ng maayos at sinali ang AND at yung mga kasunod na words it is very clear the HEAVYWEIGHT the author is implying is the capability of Philippines being able to fill a huge stadium like those in Indonesia and Malaysia

    So obvious na he didn’t mean it as what you understood as our azkals being one of the heavyweight teams in SEA.

  5. rhaymond torres June 8, 2011 / 06:49

    amusing. pinoy futbol wins yet again.

  6. arn June 8, 2011 / 08:37

    Wala po si anton sa starting eleven nio?

  7. arn June 8, 2011 / 08:52

    Just read an article from that the ufl selection who beat our azkals wore mizuno outfit.hehe.I wonder if the sri lankans would do the same.I believe that our boys will handle those guys from ceylon.real battle is against kuwaitis on july 23 and 28.a win over the latter would definitely help our world ranking. Wag lng gagamit ng mizuno, ang sri lankans matatalo. May mizuno o wala, laban kuwait talagang umaatikabo.

  8. Katherine Banzon June 8, 2011 / 12:03

    Thanks for this Roy. During last Sunday’s match against the UFL All-Stars, I was wondering why the defensive line was so high up the pitch most of the time and now that I read this, I have my answer. However, it does concern me how fast the defenders can adapt to Coach Weiss’ favoured style in a month’s time. Currently, defenders look like there is a bit of difficulty in adjustment if the aforesaid match is taken as an indicator. There were times then that, when defenders lost the ball to the opposing side, goals were easily made since ball loss happened so high up the pitch already. Please do correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

    • Roy June 8, 2011 / 12:12

      you’re right katherine, all four goals for the UFL actually came through some kind of defensive error. The first Aly lost the ball giving UFL a 3v2. Then Sabio gave away the free-kick and the 3rd and 4th a lack of communication/decisiveness allowed Izzo to smash the ball in. I think it must be remembered though that the UMAK pitch is a lot less flat and prone to random bounces then the international pitches the Azkals play on. It just explains a little bit about why maybe they would lose the ball so high up the pitch. Also the defenders played high because they were chasing the game so looked to attack. There’s lots of positives to take from the game though 😀

      • Katherine Banzon June 8, 2011 / 13:11

        Oh right, I did forgot to factor in the difference in terrain. Given the good attacks we’ve seen, if they temper aright the execution of the defensive strategy just in time for the 3rd, I do believe we’re looking at a win here, Roy. Thanks again.

  9. Inez June 8, 2011 / 12:54

    Wow – what vitriol and fervor this critic spews! Lola Basyang, you are indeed entitled to your own opinion. However, it would be nice if you could be polite about it. Maybe use the same energy to cheer for the Azkals in their next game? Who knows? A lot of cheering could encourage the team to do better. It’s an indirect way to victory, and a long shot even by Durkheimian standards – but still, you need to find a way to put your energy to good us.

  10. Maan Pamintuan June 8, 2011 / 13:04

    hi roy – i’m not that surprised that Anton is not in the starting eleven. i must admit that even with his experience in international matches and obvious chemistry with aly in the middle, there simply is something lacking with his defense with the past matches (against Mongolia in Bacolod and Mongolia and the UFL All Stars). Although i am inclined to say that this experience also is an advantage for him because he can blend in easily and would know his teammates and their moves and capabilities because of years spent with them. I’m excited to see now the actual first eleven then. cheers to a great commentary and article!

  11. Jaron Genota June 8, 2011 / 14:15

    Hey Roy, good formation. Personally, I’d have Jonsson in place of Cagara at LB, then diamond formation at the middle with JYH – Lucena – Guirado – Caligdong and with PYH and Ian up front. I think Ian’s form recently has been outstanding for him not get to the startling lineup. But that’s just me. I still think 4-4-2 suits us better with Guirado venturing more forward.

  12. foo'so June 11, 2011 / 21:58

    foo’so…Roy…thank you for this…”GOD” bless!

  13. Keshia Pullie June 17, 2011 / 00:32

    Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff!

  14. Merle Notto June 17, 2011 / 01:45

    Good review! This is exactly the type of blog post that needs to be shared around the internet. Sad on the Bing for not positioning this article higher!

  15. Ray June 26, 2011 / 01:16

    Drop Boro from the national team. Boro is shit. and Etheridge can’t even take a back pass without slipping and creating own goals.

    • Roy June 26, 2011 / 11:55

      Someone sounds quite irate. Remember things change every game and the teams the Azkals played would have well beaten Sri Lanka. The question for the Philippines isn’t can we beat those high quality teams it’s can we lose by a better scoreline than the teams around us… the players are learning and it may be a bit pre-emptive to think that everything’s lost when they haven’t even played the first leg. Thanks.

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