By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—With a stronger squad that will be toughened up in Germany, Philippine football team manager Dan Palami likes the Azkals’ chances against Sri Lanka in the first round of the 2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers in June.
“With our preparation and the quality of our players, it’s safe to say that we will have more than a fair chance against Sri Lanka,” Palami said in Tuesday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue in Manila.
“Sri Lanka is better than Bangladesh, but we will also have a lineup stronger than what we had when we played Bangladesh,” added Palami, the man credited for the Azkals’ rise. The Azkals blanked Bangladesh, 3-0, in the AFC Challenge Cup in Myanmar last month.
The Azkals battle Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo, before returning to Manila for the second leg on July 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The winner advances opposite Kuwait.
“There will be a 150 percent improvement in our lineup,” Palami said, noting the inclusion of Stefan Schrock, Manny Ott, Dennis Cagara and two more United States-based players who shone in the tryouts held by skipper Aly Borromeo and Anton del Rosario early this month.
With the Azkals needing P15 million for their World Cup campaign, Palami said they would be launching a campaign dubbed “We Believe” to attract more support for the squad.
“We’re hoping that more people will support our team because we really need it now,” he added at the weekly forum sponsored by Smart, Pagcor, Outlast Battery and Accel.