By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE PHILIPPINE Azkals could parade their best team yet when they face a slew of powerhouse sides in international friendly matches slated in June in Manila and Bacolod.
Azkals manager Dan Palami yesterday expressed confidence that Europe-based players like Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Jerry Lucena, Dennis Cagara and Neil Etheridge will suit up for the national team from June 5 to 12.
“We see no reason why they will not be available since it’s a Fifa-sanctioned international friendly dates plus it’s also the end of the season with most clubs in Europe,” said Palami yesterday at the weekly PSA Forum presented by Shakey’s, Smart and Pagcor.
Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have been invited to a friendly match on June 5 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium with the Philippine Football Federation hoping that one of the three Southeast Asian countries will be available.
The Azkals plan to fly to Bacolod for a match possibly against Hong Kong on June 8 at the Panaad Stadium.
The Azkals are likely to face China’s Olympic team for the “Independence Day Cup” on June 12 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“China has already agreed but we might face their Olympic team, which I think is still very strong,” said Palami.
All the matches are part of the Azkals’ buildup for the Suzuki Cup Asean Championships late this year in Thailand and Malaysia.