The 2011 season is over for the Azkals, having played their last offical FIFA-sanctioned match for 2011 against Nepal’s Gorkhalis last October 11, 2011. Below are some of the stats I have gathered for the Azkals games from January to October 2011. These stats cover only the FIFA-sanctioned tournament games and international friendlies, and does not cover international or local exhibition matches.
They are also definitely not complete, as these are only gathered from news accounts, internet columns, etc. as I followed the team thru the season. I do hope that the Azkals release an official summary of the season, with more accurate official statistics, so we can study their performance better.
‘Tournaments and Games’
The Azkals played in 4 tournaments, and 2 friendly games in 2011. The 2 friendly games were against Singapore (away) and Nepal (home). The 4 tournaments were the following:
– 2012 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification Playoffs, 2 games against Mongolia.
– 2012 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification Group Stage, 3 games against Myanmar, Palestine and Bangladesh.
– 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification (First and Second Rounds), 4 games against Sri Lanka and Kuwait.
– 2011 Long Teng Cup, 3 games against Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.
The Azkals played 14 games in 2011, all under coach Michael Weiss. Of this, the team won 5 games, drew another 5 games, and came up with 4 losses. The team’s winning percentage in 2011 is at 35.71%. This is an improvement to the 2010 season, when the Azkals won only 3 games in 11 matches under coach Simon McMenemy, and whose winning percentage was only 27.27%.
The Azkals has had 4 home games in 2011, and won 3 of them, losing only once, for an impressive 75% win rate. The Azkals had NO home games in 2010. In terms of the away games, though, the Azkals floundered winning only 2 in 10 games, for a win rate of only 20%. It drew 5 times in these away games, and lost 3 times.
The Azkals scored 22 goals on 14 games, with an average of 1.57 goals per game, while giving up 14 goals, averaging 1 per game. Compared to 2010, the Azkals’ goal average goal per game was slightly higher at 1.64, and the goals against was also slightly lower at .91 per game. Despite the fact that our win percentage improved, our average number of goals for and against has worsened a bit.
‘Against Stronger and Weaker Teams’
In 14 games, we played half of those against stronger teams, and half of those against weaker teams. Take note that when I say “stronger” or “weaker”, I am referring to our opponent’s rankings compared to ours at the time of the match. The stronger teams were Myanmar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Nepal. The weaker teams were Mongolia, Palestine, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Macau.
Against the stronger teams, we won only ONCE (against Nepal) in 7 games, for a win rate of only 14%. We drew against these teams thrice (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Myanmar), and lost also thrice (Kuwait-2 games, Singapore).
Against the weaker teams, we won 4 times (Mongolia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Macau) in 7 games for a win rate of 57%. However, we drew twice (Sri Lanka, Palestine), and lost once (Mongolia).
8 Azkals scored at least a goal in 2011. Below are the list, and beside each name in bracket are the number of games they played for the season:
– 6 goals: Phil Younghusband (11), Chieffy Caligdong (14)
– 3 goals: James Younghusband (14), Angel Guirado (11)
– 1 goal: Ian Araneta (13), Nate Burkey (4), Stephan Schrock (2), Matthew Hartmann (4)
In term of the number of Games Between Goals (GBG), Stephan Schrock was the most efficient player in terms of goals for the team, averaging 2 games between goals, but he only played 2 games for the Azkals. The most consistent are Phil with 2.8 games between goals, and Chieffy, who averaged 3.5 goals between games. Below is the complete list, with the GBG stat in bracket:
– Stephan Schrock (2)
– Phil Younghusband (2.8)
– Chieffy Caligdong (3.5)
– Nate Burkey / Matthew Hartmann, (4)
– James Younghusband (4.7)
– Angel Guirado (5.5)
– Ian Araneta (13)
PYH improved his production this year compared to 2010 where he scored 5 goals in 11 games. He definitely is the best goal scorer for the Azkals thus far, the most consistent one in the last 2 seasons. Phil is the complete package: Tall, decent build and speed, coupled with excellent ballhandling and shooting. And he is only around 24 years old, so still a lot of years ahead for him barring any major injuries.
The biggest revelation this year was no doubt Chieffy Caligdong. After only scoring 1 goal in 2010 in 11 games, he has now risen and blossomed under Weiss equaling Phil’s output in terms of the number of goals. This definitely is the “Year of the Chieffy”, where he established himself as one of the team’s best players. Chieffy is fast, a great ballhandler, decent shooter, but a bit lacking in build, making it easier to muscle him out. At 28 years old, Chieffy is a bit old already, but expect him to maintain this form for at least half a decade.
Ian Araneta’s goal production plummeted this year, from 7 goals in 11 games in 2010, to only 1 goal in 13 games. Then again, a majority of Ian’s goals in 2010 were against weak teams like Macau and Timor Letse. Ian has good speed, good build but his lack of ballhandling ability and shooting is what is keeping him from scoring goals against tougher teams.
James Younghusband improved on his 2011 production slighlty to 3 goals (14 games) from 2 goals (11 games) in 2010. But JYH is basically more of a playmaker or support player rather than a scorer. Newcomers Guirado and Schrock are very promising, I’m hoping to see more production from both in the coming year, and in Schrock’s case, I hope we can see more of him playing with the Azkals next year.
The Azkals had three major Goalkeepers in 2011, and these are Neil Etheridge, Roland Mueller and Eduard Sacapano. Neil played the most number of games for the Azkals with 10, followed by Mueller with 3, and Eduard with 1.
Under Neil Etheridge, the Azkals won or drew 7 times in 10 games. Neil also had a clean slate (i.e., no goals against) 5 times for a 50% rate, and conceded 9 goals in 10 games for an average of almost 1 per game.
With Roland Mueller, on the other hand, the Azkals won/drew twice in 3 games. He also had a 2 clean slates for a 66% rate, and conceded only 3 goals in 3 games for an average of 1 per game.
Roland’s numbers may look better than Neil’s, but he hasn’t played as much games as Neil, and definitely Neil was up against better teams than Roland. At any rate, this means we have 2 pretty good Goalkeepers to choose from. Take note that these stats did not include Roland’s numbers for that disastrous stint with the U23 Azkals in the SEAG. But then you really can’t put all the blame on Roland in that stint, as the Azkals’ backline defense was just atrocious.
Rounding out the Goalkeepers is Eduard Sacapano, who only played 1 game for the Azkals, which the team lost, and where he conceded 2 goals. Not included in these stats, is the fact that in 3 exhibition games in Bahrain just before the Kuwait series, he conceded an average of 2 goals per game. and the team lost all games. We really need to help develop Eduard better, or find a better local GK, because if both Neil and Roland are out, our Goalkeeping competence goes down considerably.
‘Azkals 2011 Reflections’
I initially was disappointed about the Azkals’ inability to win consistently overall this year, especially against higher ranking teams. However, now that I have crunched the numbers, and compared our team’s performance to the previous year, I think this year’s result is pretty fair for this team. Nothing spectacular, but not so bad, either.
We could NOT hold a home game in 2010, for example, since we did not even have a FIFA-approved pitch. But we had 4 home games this year, and we haven’t had such types of games in a long, long while. Our win rate improved, not by much, but there was visible improvement.
We saw the rise of Chieffy Caligdong, the steady consistency of the Younghusband brothers, and seen top, world-class quality players like Cagara, Mulders and Schrock finally play for the Azkals. The U23 Azkals was a total disaster in the SEAG, but nevertheless it was a start. One can only hope that the U23 players and coaching staff has learned their lessons, and will improve. Foundations for the U16 and U13 teams has also started, despite their equally disappointing and disastrous stints abroad. For 2012, I hope for further improvement in all the Azkals teams, in terms of individual wins, and hopefully tournament wins.