Azkals vs. Nepal, October 11, 2011

Below are my notes for the Azkals-Nepal International Friendly game as aired on Studio 23 on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, starting at 7:00 pm.

‘Prologue’
After that loss to Singapore, I am wary about this game against Nepal. Perhaps playing on home turf will be enough for the team to consistently find that Final Ball.

This game is the last chance for the main Azkals team to beat (not draw, or lose) to a higher FIFA-ranked team. The next opportunity will probably occur in a couple of months, sometime early next year. It is also the last game of the Azkals this year. After this game, you will only see the Azkals with their respective UFL teams until 2012.

‘The Gorkhalis’
Nepal is ranked a step higher than Singapore, which means more bad news for the Azkals. I think they are here mainly on a probing mission, to gauge the Azkals’ strengths and weaknesses. They probably think that knowing the Azkals now will give them an advantage when we play on THEIR home pitch next year.

The Gorkhalis (as they are known), are a team on the rise, rising 35 points in the FIFA rankings in a space of only seven months, from number 172 in March 2011, to its current position of number 135. This year, they lost to North Korea (an Asian Superpower in Football) by only one goal, and was able to draw with Jordan on their home pitch (though they did lose to the Jordanians 9-0 on the away game). So I expect this to be a tough game for the Azkals.
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Azkals vs. Singapore, October 7, 2011

Below are my notes for the Azkals-Singapore International Friendly game as aired on Studio 23 on Friday, October 7, 2011, starting at 6:30 pm.

‘Pre-Game’
My expectations of this game is definitely a win. Again, anything less, is a disappointment. One of the goals for having this friendly series, was to climb up the FIFA rankings again by beating teams ranked higher than us. This we failed to do in the 2011 Long Teng Cup, and we are now hoping to do it with these next two games.

Looking at my records, we have NOT won a single game this year against a team ranked higher than us. We either drew, or lost to them. All of our four wins this year were against lower ranking teams.

Only Chris Soler and Rudy Del Rosario on the panel, no Ronnie Nathanielsz at last. I think its better, but only two people talking about Football for about an hour is not enough, I think they need to put in one more expert. A real expert, not Ronnie Nathanielsz.

Azkals’ Starting Eleven: (Goalkeeper) Neil Etheridge; (Backline) Aly Borromeo, Dennis Cagara, Jerry Lucena, Ray Jonsson; (Midfield) Paul Mulders, Jason De Jong, James Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong; (Forwards) Phil Younghusband, Angel Guirado.
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