Azkals to conduct training camp in Doha

The Azkals’ return to competition in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / AFC Asian Cup China 2023 joint qualifiers begins with a training camp in Doha, Qatar scheduled for May 18-30 2021.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, Jr. made the announcement of the Qatar training camp following his communication with Qatar Football Association.

“It’s so hard to train here in the Philippines so we have decided to conduct our training camp in Qatar,” said Araneta.

The PFF and the Azkals were originally planning to stage a training camp in Manila, but due to the current COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, PFF has sought for alternative venues to hold the camp with Qatar selected having hosted the AFC Champions League last year.

“There were plans to have a camp in Manila or Thailand or Chinese Taipei, but Dohai s a very good option for the Men’s National Team training camp before we compete in China because of the medical protocols it has implemented in AFC competition last year,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “Hopefully the camp in Qatar will bring our players to a higher level.”

The Qatar camp also coincides with the training camps of both Syria and Palestine, giving the Azkals a chance to conduct friendly matches in preparation for the qualifiers which begins on June 3, 2021.

“We are lucky that there are other teams conducting their training camps there as well so that we can have friendly matches before the team heads to China,” added Araneta. “What’s important is that the players are there and they will be in a safe environment and in place where they can train properly. The players will be very happy to train there especially with the other teams we can play against.”

Azkals team manager Dan Palami and coach Scott Cooper thanked the leadership of Araneta and Gastanes in ensuring the team has adequate time to train for the qualifiers which will be held in Suzhou, China.

“There’s always been a logistical nightmare every time we travel even before the pandemic because our players are coming from different countries around the world, and especially this time when we have to consider restrictions specific to each country as well as ours,” said Palami. “We are very thankful for the PFF’s good relationship with Qatar. With this development, we are hopeful that the preparatory camp will be a success and will allow us to give everybody a good competition in China.”

“We have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Araneta and Atty. Gastanes for making this happen,” added Cooper. “Now it’s time to get the players together, time to gel them. Selecting a squad is never easy as we try to move the national team forward.”