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    Azkals in race against time as they build up for Challenge Cup qualifiers

    Mar 14, 2013
    Michael Weiss' foreign-based players will only arrive from Sunday to Tuesday, leaving the Azkals a few days to practice together for the Challenge Cup qualifiers. Jerome Ascano

    THE Philippine Azkals will only have three days of full practice together ahead of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers set in Manila from March 22-26.

    Azkals coach Michael Weiss told Spin.ph on Thursday that his slew of foreign-based booters are only due to arrive from Sunday to Tuesday, among them star goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock, Dennis Cagara, Rob Gier, Angel Guirado, Paul Mulders, Rey Jonsson and Javier Patinio.

    “That (three days of practice) is never enough, but we have to make the best out of it, as usual,” said Weiss. “It’s a very poor preparation, but we have to make do with everything we can to play our best."

    “We have been playing (together) for two years now, so the players know each other more or less,” added Weiss.

    Compared to the last Suzuki Cup, the Azkals will need little adjustment in the roster as there are only a maximum three new players added to the side's core.

    The Philippines hopes to finish at the top of the five-day tournament to advance to the main draw of the Challenge Cup set March next year in Maldives.

    With the tough task ahead, Weiss is hoping support of the hometown crowd will weigh heavily as they go up against equally determined teams from Cambodia, Brunei, and Turkmenistan.

    “I hope Filipinos will understand the significance of this tournament. So it would be very helpful for the players to get the support,” said Weiss.

    “Our players are always anticipating warm local support, they play more inspired in front of a full house. We hope the stadium will be 100 percent full,” he added.

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    Michael Weiss' foreign-based players will only arrive from Sunday to Tuesday, leaving the Azkals a few days to practice together for the Challenge Cup qualifiers. Jerome Ascano
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