Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami Calls for More Support
At the start of the Philippine football year, Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami is calling for more support from all football stakeholders ahead of the final AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying match against Tajikistan on March 27, 2018 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Q: What can you take about the Asian Cup campaign and your match against Tajikistan on March?
Dan Palami (DP): After five games, it all comes down to this. One match that will decide if we qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.
Our Asian Cup campaign has been a rollercoaster ride. We started off with two wins but have absorbed three straight draws which brings us to this crucial match against Tajikistan on 27 March 2018.
The match means everything about what Philippine football really is all about.
Q: The team has already had the chance to qualify for the Asian Cup on two occasions (both versus Nepal), will the third time be the charm?
DP: From the Miracle of Hanoi, we knew that we, as a team, should always strive to be the best. We came very close to achieving our dream of qualifying for the Asian Cup in the past couple of matches but we always left empty handed.
We do not want to experience another heartbreak. Our hearts have been broken too many times that we hope that victory will finally shine on us this time around.
Q: How crucial is the support of the PFF and the PFL in the team’s bid to qualify for the Asian Cup?
DP: Everyone wants to qualify, the players, the staff, and I’m sure the fans too, of course, we are all united in the goal to qualify for the Asian Cup. But how can we qualify if not all football stakeholders are not united? The team alone can’t do everything in reaching the goal.
We call on the Philippine Football Federation, through President Mariano “Nonong” Araneta to rally behind the Azkals in this crucial Asian Cup qualifier match. The PFF, as football’s governing body in the Philippines, has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can now host a match of this caliber here in the Philippines unlike in the past where it was just wishful thinking.
We also call on the Philippines Football League and the clubs to support the Azkals. The PFL has been a by-product of the Azkals’ achievements. A compromise between the team, the League, and the clubs that will not hamper the Azkals’ preparation for the upcoming match must be achieved.
We are at the crossroads, and if we are united in our bid to qualify for the Asian Cup, it will ensure that Philippine football has a brighter future ahead.
Q: What is your message to the fans who have continuously supported the team throughout the years?
DP: We call on you the fans to make yourselves heard in the final match of the qualifiers. The players know that each time they come up to the field wearing the kit, the Filipino nation is united in supporting them. We hope everyone will come through to Rizal Memorial Stadium on match day to to witness what we hope will be an historic moment in Philippine football.
Our Asian Cup campaign started last year, let us make sure that our dream becomes a reality next year when we join the other 23 teams that will participate in the Asian Cup.
See you at RMS on March 27! We’re excited and we hope you are too.