A host of players will not be making the Philippine national men’s football team lineup for the Peace Cup next week for different reasons, according to coach Thomas Dooley.
Aly Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdong, Jerry Lucena, Mike Ott, Martin Steuble and Jeffrey Christiaens were all left off the Azkals roster for the annual tournament with Myanmar, Palestine, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines comprising this years’ teams.
Former captain Aly Borromeo was part of the initial pool of the Azkals training camp last week, but was told he would not be part of the Peace Cup.
“I told him he is in a situation where maybe he and I hope not, but it looks like the national team level is not for him anymore”, Dooley said.
“So I think with all the injuries he’s had, the ACL and he was out for two years, coming back, and then you could see the speed of play.”
“It’s normal when you’re out that long in that age, he’s not 20 anymore, he’s 30, so it makes it a bit more difficult for him.”
However, Dooley is still open to the possibility of Borromeo making a return to the national team.
“If he gets enough playing time in the UFL, then maybe who knows what’s going to happen in a year,” Dooley said.
“But at the moment, where he is right now and where the team is right now, and the teams he plays against, I think it is a little bit too high for him.”
Caligdong was also part of the training camp but an injury forced him out of the Peace Cup as well.
“I wanted to see Chieffy another week. He did good things, he was like very quick, he was fit, and he had some great moves,” Dooley said.
“I wanted to see him playing with this group here, so this week I wanted to see him in this bigger field, esp. the game on Wednesday versus Global to see if it works for him.
“Unlucky that he was injured. Talked to him yesterday, shouldn’t give up. There will be other tournaments and then when he’s healthy he can come back and can train with us and we can see how far he can go.”
Injury also prevented Jerry Lucena and Jeffrey Christiaens from participation in the Peace Cup but things are a bit different for Mike Ott and Martin Steuble, as both asked permission to stay with their club teams.
“Mike Ott didn’t want to come. He’s close to the team in Nuremberg. I think it could have been better for him to come
with us and get some experience instead of playing for the Under-23 team, but it is OK,” Dooley said.
“But in the end he makes the decision that maybe in the Suzuki Cup he is available for us and it is great.”
Steuble also opted to concentrate to his club duties with his new Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City.
“Martin Steuble is in a similar situation, with the MLS team he’s getting playing time -– a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there, and with the national team players going away, he has a great chance to prove that he is a part of it and he asked if he could stay and we said it’s OK,” Dooley said.
It’s not all bad news for the Azkals however, as Roland Mueller, Paul Mulders, Rob Gier and defender Alvaro Silva have confirmed their participation in the tournament.
The Azkals will face Chinese Taipei, Myanmar and Palestine in the third edition of the Philippine Football Peace Cup from September 3 to September 9 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.