UP partners with Azkals for rehabilitation of football field in Diliman:

The University of the Philippines has inked a partnership with the Futbol Pilipinas Azkals Foundation, Inc. to improve the UP Diliman Football Field.

UP officials and Azkals team manager Dan Palami last Friday signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the rehabilitation of the football field, which will be named the “UP-Azkals Football Field,” as part of the proposed UP Diliman Sports Complex Zone.

“Which athlete would not be inspired to train harder if given new equipment or training grounds?” UP President Alfredo Pascual said in a release by the university.

Palami, a school alumnus who also supports the UP Fighting Maroons, also hoped that more people help the UP varsity.

“If we all work together to make sure they get the support they need to play their best; then I believe there is no dream, no trophy, and no honor beyond their reach,” Palami said.

Under the agreement, the Azkals Foundation will “prepare and undertake the architectural and engineering works” of the field as well as “donate the civil and site preparation works” to the university, according to a release.

The establishment of the UP Diliman Sports Complex Zone earlier got a boost after securing a P12 million from Senator Pia Cayetano. The project is seen to provide a world-class sports facility inside the campus.

UP, a state university, has excelled in football, bringing home a total of five UAAP men’s football titles as well as producing players who would later on play for the national team such as Anto Gonzales, Jinggoy Valmayor and Amani Aguinaldo, among others.

Azkals hero Chris Greatwich ‘taking a break’ from national team duty: file

Philippine national men’s football team veteran Chris Greatwich announced Tuesday that he won’t be suiting up for the Azkals anytime soon.

Greatwich said he did not join the Azkals training tour in Bahrain this month as he wants to “take a break” from national team duty and spend more time with his family.

“Last week I met with Coach (Thomas) Dooley and told him I would be taking a break from International football for a while,” Greatwich wrote in an Instagram post.

“It has been the greatest privilege to play for Philippines for the past 10 years but for now I like to spend more time with my family, especially my baby Nico.

“Thanks to all the players, staff and fans who’ve supported us over the years and I wish the team the best of luck in the future.”

Greatwich, 31, has seven international goals under his belt, almost all of them memorable as he played hero many times for the Azkals. He was instrumental in the team’s Cinderella run to the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals in 2010 that catapulted the squad to national consciousness.

The Filipino-English midfielder also scored the winning goal in an epic semifinal win with Maldives in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup last year that brought the Azkals to the tournament final for the first time.

Greatwich is currently playing for Kaya FC in the United Football League.

Neil Etheridge back in lineup as Azkals book Bahrain friendly this March: Marquez

The Philippine national men’s football team has set up a friendly match against Bahrain to kick off the year for the Azkals who is preparing for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in June.

The Azkals and Bahrain will face off on March 30 in Manama. It will serve as a culmination to the Filipinos’ training tour in Bahrain that will start on March 23.

The 128th-ranked Azkals and the 104th-ranked Bahrain last met in 2012 where the Filipino held the hosts to an impressive nil-nil draw.

Called up for the Azkals friendly are foreign-based players Javier Patiño, Alvaro Silva, Rob Gier, Jerry Lucena, Roland Mueller and Neil Etheridge who makes his return to the lineup after a rift with coach Thomas Dooley last year.

Also part of the lineup are Phil and James Younghusband, Amani Aguinaldo, Kenshiro Daniels, Ruben Doctora, Patrick Deyto, Simon Greatwich, Juani Guirado, Mark Hartmann, Satoshi Otomo, Manny Ott, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt, Simone Rota, Daisuke Sato, Martin Steuble and Dennis Villanueva.

The match is part of the Azkals buildup for their FIFA World Cup qualifiers campaign in June.

My Azkals call-up

In my opinion, these players deserve a call-up from our national team #Azkals. The basis of my selection are 2 things: their overall performances as an individual & their contribution to their clubs. 

Ceres La-Salle​:
Louie Casas, Jeffrey Christaiens, Juani Guirado, Manny Ott, Patrick Reichelt, Jason Sabio & Martin Steuble


Amani Aguinaldo, Misagh Bahadoran, Jerry Barbaso, Patrcik Deyto, Hartmann brothers (Mark & Matthew), Jonsson brothers (Ray & Michael), Hikaru Minegeshi, Satoshi Otomo & Daisuke Sato


Jovin Bedic, Joshua Beloya , Nick O'Donnell, Chris Greatwich , Junior Muñoz & OJ Porteria

Loyola Meralco Sparks:
Graham Caygill, Roxy Dorlas,Simon Greatwich,Eddie Mallari, Tomas Trigo &   James Younghusband

Fitch Arboleda, David Basa, OJ Clariño, Balot Doctora & Simone Rota

Collegiate Standouts:

Nathan Alquiros (DLSU/Stallion FC), Arnel Amita (FEU/Loyola Meralco Sparks FC), Jesus Melliza (FEU/Green Archers United FC) & Jinggoy Valmayor (UP/Pachanga-Diliman FC)

Foreign-based Azkals:

Neil Etheridge (Charlton Athletic FC), Jerry Lucena (Esbjerg fB), Roland Müller (Servette FC) &Javier Patiño (Henan Jianye FC), 

In case you’re all wondering: why I didn’t include Phil Younghusband. Even though he is OUR ALL-TIME LEADING GOAL SCORER, his 3-game absence due to injury is my basis. If you ask me, we need him to rest so that his injury will not be reoccur. And besides, despite of his absence in the pitch, many Loyola players step up to fill up that gap (especially his brother James & Caygill). One other thing, let’s give the others to shine.