COUNTDOWN TO SRI LANKA the last analysis: the Azkals finish their preparations…

So Craig Burrows and I are off to Sri Lanka later today 🙂 Going through Kuala Lumpur again we’ll arrive in Sri Lanka on Monday, 7:15am-ish… ready to report, photograph and tweet our way through the first leg.

Of course the last two games for the Azkals haven’t gone the same way as their dominant wins before, here’s the results for the Philippines’ camp in Germany:

Aachen-Düren Selection 1-4 Philippines

SC Bonner 1-4 Philippines

FC Ingolstadt 04 4-0 Philippines

SV Darmstadt 98 5-0 Philippines

The last two games may have been heavy losses but it must be remembered that Ingolstadt and Darmstadt are in the second and third tier of German Football. The measurement of success is not so much how many games did the Philippines win but how different the score would be if Sri Lanka had played instead. The positives to come out of the game are the increased cohesion of the squad, the players regularly training, eating and playing competitively together over a number of weeks. In comparison, Sri Lanka only released their squad this week and so have had far less time to train together and test their skills. Playing against better teams helps the players to step up their game and there would have been a danger of overconfidence had they won convincingly each time.

The worries are now the confidence of specific players who seem to have some fans turn on them quite nastily. Neil 
Etheridge’s goalkeeping blooper in the game against Ingolstadt will surely be playing on his mind and it must be remembered that Neil is just 21 years of age. While he is of course one of the best players on the Azkals team it is very early in his career and he needs to develop the mental toughness of a player at that level. Maturity takes time and Neil has that on his side but in the short-term it is likely he needs the support of the fans to build up his confidence before the first leg against Sri Lanka. Germany was a step up in competition for the Philippine squad, fitting with their goal of trying to not only pass through Sri Lanka but in anticipation of Kuwait too who are ranked 55 places above the Philippines at 101 in the world (Philippines = 156). To check out the Azkals versus Ingolstadt see the youtube video below – Neil Etheridge’s blunder is from 1:35 onwards – remember to be kind in your comments, the best goalkeepers in the world have all made similar mistakes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA38obC7tfs

In anticipation of the Philippines the Sri Lankan coach Jang Jung has conceded it will be a difficult test:

“They are certainly going to give us (Sri Lanka) the stiffest challenge we could expect. They have prepared well in advance than us. We began our training campaign a little late due to a slight delay in selections but the boys are in good shape. We are confident of giving them a good fight,” as quoted by the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.

So with the game fast approaching and with Craig and I heading to Sri Lanka remember to follow @roymondous and @craigburrows for live commentary of the game and inside sights, moments and stories from Sri Lanka. Subscribe to the blog for more on the COUNDOWN TO SRI LANKA and the AFTERMATH OF SRI LANKA. Hopefully I’ll be able to get control of Craig’s account once more and continue my series FACTS ABOUT CRAIG. Comment here about whatever you’d like to know about Craig and I’ll see what I can dig up – investigate reporting 101 🙂

Next on the COUNTDOWN TO SRI LANKA: First Impressions

Roy Moore

Co-director of the Fairplay for All Foundation which runs Payatas FC, Kasiglahan FC and Kasiglahan Girls FC. Check out the charity and donate to support grassroots football providing education and homes for street kids: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairplay-For-All-Foundation/163370857062294

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7 thoughts on “COUNTDOWN TO SRI LANKA the last analysis: the Azkals finish their preparations…

  1. Trina Isorena June 26, 2011 / 14:41

    I am really glad you are doing a tweetcast again. It was my only link to the game in Myanmar when a link from a Palestine football webpage promising livestreaming did not pan out. Just arrived in Sydney to start my Phd and will be missing a live Azkals game in Manila on July. I was so excited when Dan Palami announced around April that the Azkals camp might be in Melbourne. Felt so luckly! I vowed to travel to Melbourne just for that. But of course it eventually was held in Germany. And my luck doesn’t end there, because my flatmate turned out to be a Sri Lankan. Buti na lang he is more of a cricket fan, kung hindi riot kami dito during game time.

    Any real good livestream link you could suggest. I will be watching both, tweetcast and livestream and of course the pictures.Hi to Craig Burrows too.

    AZKALS,I BELIEVE!

  2. spooky June 26, 2011 / 14:43

    once again u guys will be eyes of the filipino in sri lanka…much like what happened in myanmar….thanks …well done u too…..please post ;lots of photos………..especially of my fave player and going for his debut with the azkals….STEPHAN SCHROCK….I HOPE U GET TO INTERVIEW HIM….THANK YOU AND CONTINUR UE EXCELLENT WORK

  3. IrisC June 26, 2011 / 15:19

    “Playing against better teams helps the players to step up their game and there would have been a danger of overconfidence had they won convincingly each time.”

    -i super agree. and i don’t understand the haters as well. what were they thinking, our national team is fairly young and at the rate they’re going right now, we’ve actually done pretty well. I’m proud that the Azkals have put us right back on the sports map.

    i just think that instead of filling up all posts with Fil-foreigner players, we can probably cast the net a little bit wider to scout for ‘native’ talents. Pinoys are very athletic and hardworking. that’s something for futbol ain’t it?

    looking forward to your tweetcast!

    • Joel June 27, 2011 / 01:09

      I like your idea of scouting talents locally, but you have to remember, it’s not a 2-3 years of training, these euro and US kids have been kicking football since they were 5. That’s why the Younghusband football academy was organized, these two guys saw the need.

      Joel

  4. J Santisteban June 26, 2011 / 16:41

    “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”-Lao Tzu. The Philippine team’s journey has just began. Win or lose, I’m supporting our team simple because it is “our” team. And since I can’t be in Sri Lanka, I’ll just scream my lungs out at National Sports Grill.

    Have fun, guys!

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