MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals have dropped the five-nation Nehru Cup in India in favor of a series of friendlies with ASEAN neighbors in their roster of activities leading to the coming AFF Suzuki Cup in Thailand.
“The Nehru Cup will no longer be part of our preparations for the Suzuki Cup,” said Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta in a text message.
Slated late August to early September, the Nehru Cup would have seen the Azkals pit skills with Jordan, Kenya, Syria and host India.
Instead, Araneta said: “We are scheduling to have friendlies on Sept. 5 in Cambodia, Sept. 7 in Singapore and Sept. 10 in Laos.”
Cambodia and Laos are among five nations competing in the Suzuki Cup Qualifying Round on Oct. 5-13 while Singapore is in Group B of the Final Stage slated Nov. 24-Dec. 1.
The Azkals are bunched with former titlists Vietnam and Thailand and the winner of the Qualifying Round in the main draw of the Suzuki Cup, where they are seeking to at least duplicate their surprise semifinal stint two years ago.
Aside from the friendlies, the Pinoy booters will also hold a training camp in the US, setting matches against Chicago Inferno and US Virgin Islands, and similar stints in the Middle East and Japan. A four-nation meet with Chinese Taipei, Macau and Guam is also being organized in Bacolod. Meanwhile, Araneta and Department of Education Sec. Armin Luistro signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen cooperation on the PFF’s Kasibulan Grassroots program.
Meanwhile, Araneta and Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen cooperation on the PFF’s Kasibulan Grassroots program.
”We will teach the teachers to be coaches, and they will in turn teach the players in the elementary schools to enjoy and play football,” said Araneta.