MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals are stepping up their preparations for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in March.
ABS-CBN correspondent Dyan Castillejo reported that the Philippine squad has been holding practice sessions twice a day at the Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
As part of their preparations, the team will participate in an exhibition game against South Korea’s Icheon Citizen FC on Saturday.
Filipino-British footballer Rob Gier flew down to Manila to join the practice sessions.
“It's a practice match for fitness, team cohesion,” Gier said of their friendly match versus the third-tier Korean team.
A new recruit also joined the Azkals’ fold.
Filipino-German Dennis Wolf, who plays for FC Magdeburg in Germany, practiced with the Azkals.
“I don't know the whole team [yet] but a lot of good characters in them. Looking forward [to play with them]," said Wolf.
Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss said the friendly will help improve the team’s level of play.
“I want to improve their football skills,” he said.
The Azkals advanced into the final grouping of the AFC Challenge Cup by demolishing Bangladesh, 3-0, in March last year.
The Challenge Cup will take place in Nepal from March 8-19.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will renew its contract with ABS-CBN for the television coverage of the Philippine Azkals.
PFF President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said the 4-year contract will help the promotion of the sport in the country.
“We're going to sign with ABS-CBN... ‘yung pagcover ng ABS-CBN sa sport namin helped the promotion of the sport in general. Not only in the Philippines but also sa labas [ng bansa],” he said.
The Azkals United-Icheon Citizen FC game will be broadcast live by ABS-CBN Studio 23 on Saturday, 7 p.m.
ABS CBN News