By FRANCIS SANTIAGOFebruary 28, 2011, 1:07pmMANILA, Philippines — Team manager Dan Palami never doubts the Philippine Azkals’ capability to overcome Mongolia for the second time in their AFC Challenge Cup qualifier even without goal keeper Neil Etheridge.
“We have a 2-0 cushion and they (Mongolians) are not too much of a threat to our keeper. So he (Etheridge) being there might be an overkill in so far defense is concerned,” Palami told the Bulletin in
a recent interview when Etheridge’s stint was still up in the air.
Palami, the national football team’s godfather, explained that the 6-foot-3 goalie would be perfect to hold the forth for the Azkals. Too good was Etheridge at the goalmouth that he was busier in the outfield rather than making saves in their 2-0 blanking of the Blue Wolves in Bacolod City three weeks ago.
“It will be different without him,” Palami said of Etheridge, who opted out of the March 15 rematch in Ulan Bator due to his commitment with his English Premiere League club, Fulham. “But we have adequate replacement for him.”
That guy is Bago City native Eduardo Sacapaño, 30, a member of the Philippine Army.
“I think with the level of Mongolia, he’s (Sacapaño) adequate to cover for him (Etheridge),” Palami said. “Of course, the disparity between Neil and his substitutes are way beyond... but for Mongolia, he’s (Sacapaño) adequate.”
Palami said there’s no need to push the panic button although they may also miss three other foreignbred Filipino players in Chris and Simon Greatwich and Robert Gier because of other pressing matter.