Azkals coach Thomas Dooley has called up 21 mostly local-based players to carry the country’s colors when they play Nepal in an international friendly in Doha, Qatar on Oct. 31.
Phil and James Younghusband and Anton del Rosario of Loyola Meralco Sparks, Juani Guirado and Paul Mulders of Ceres La Salle and Chris Greatwich of Kaya in the United Football League will provide the experience to the squad seeking to repeat its mastery over Nepal.
Last April, in a similar friendly in Doha, the Azkals whipped the Nepalese, 3-0.
Mark Hartmann, who fired four goals in a 5-0 rout of Papua New Guinea two weeks ago, is back in Phl uniform with Global teammates Amani Aguinaldo, Misagh Bahadoran, Daisuke Sato and Patrick Deyto.
Ceres boys Jeff Cristiaens, Manny Ott, and Patrick Reichelt, Loyola Meralco’s Simon Greatwich, Kaya’s Kenshiro Daniels, Stallion’s Simone Rota, and debuting Fil-Spanish keeper Tomas Trigo of Team Soccerro are also in the roster.
Fil-Swiss Martin Steuble of Sporting Kansas, one of the goal scorers in the previous friendly against Nepal, and veteran Jerry Lucena of Esbjerg, are the only overseas-based stalwarts joining the team.
Skipper Rob Gier has excused himself from the Nepal game due to family commitment but promised to be back against Thailand on Nov. 10. Jason de Jong has “retired” from the national team after 49 caps over six years, wishing to spend more time with his family.
Aside from Nepal, the Azkals will face Al Ahli club on Nov. 2 during their mini camp in Doha as they continue their buildup for the AFF Suzuki Cup.
De Jong quits Azkals ahead of Suzuki Cup
Citing “personal reasons,” midfielder Jason de Jong, one of the most improved players under national football team coach Thomas Dooley, yesterday announced his retirement from the Azkals.
The 24-year-old De Jong, the reigning Golden Ball winner in the United Football League, said he has already informed Dooley of his decision not to play for the national team’s next major tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup.
The move comes as a shock as De Jong has been an integral part of the team being developed by Dooley. It also leaves a big hole in the Azkals midfield as they prepare for the Suzuki Cup.
“My heart is not in it anymore and I want to spend more time with my family,” said the Filipino-Dutch standout, who has played 49 times for the Azkals since 2008.
De Jong told the Inquirer that, unlike the “resignation” of Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara early this year, his move to quit the team wasn’t because of a falling out with Dooley.
“I thank boss Dan (Palami) and coach Dooley for the opportunity they gave me,” said De Jong. “It was certainly an honor playing for the national team.”
De Jong has been part of almost every PH side that achieved milestones the past four years. He played in the AFF Suzuki Cup side in 2010 and 2012 as well as the AFC Challenge Cup squad that reached the final against Palestine early this year.
Meanwhile, the Azkals will face Thailand on Nov. 10 as part of their buildup for the Suzuki Cup. The Azkals will no longer play Malaysia on Nov. 8 and instead will fly to Nakhon Ratchasima for the duel with the Thais, the losing finalists to Singapore in the 2012 Suzuki Cup.
Source : Philstar.com & Inquirer.net