Azkals’ Neil Etheridge back in PH, shares valuable Premier League experiences

Cardiff City FC’s Filipino goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is in the country for a three-week vacation. But he made time for the media in order to impart some of his experiences in the recently concluded Premier League season and his plans with regards to the Azkals and what’s next for him with Cardiff City.

During the roundtable, he shared his personal views regarding Cardiff City FC’s Premier League campaign and how the season unfolded.

Despite his club eventually being relegated down to the Championship after the 2018-19 campaign, the Filipino shot-stopper was able to come up with a commendable performance all-season long, notching 10 clean sheets with 141 total saves and three penalty saves (two of which were in his Premier League debut).

“At the end of the day, it’s a team sport… You win together, you lose together,” Etheridge shared to the media focusing more on the team rather than dwelling on his personal achievements and milestones.

“Ultimately, at the end of the season, we fell short by two points and were unable to stay in the (Premier) League,” added Neil.

STILL A BLUEBIRD

It is to note though that given the Azkals sentinel’s commendable efforts and good overall form in manning the posts for The Bluebirds, despite the drop to the Championship for next season, speculations started to hover regarding Neil in terms of a possible return to the top flight via a transfer to a Premier League club, with West Ham as one of the first of such to be rumoured as having an interest.

However, amidst such rumours, Cardiff City’s current first choice sentry made it clear that, at this very moment, he is still with the Welsh club.

“At the end of the day, I (still) got two years left in my contract with Cardiff (City) and the future is out of my hands,” Etheridge shared.

CONTINUING WITH THE AZKALS

Neil Etheridge also touched on his current situation with the Azkals declaring that he wants to be in the squad, particularly in the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers in September this year.

He also emphasised that he has been with the Philippine National Team for 11 years, starting when he was just 18-years-old, and with such a length of involvement, he doesn’t want to just drop all those just for the sake of concentrating on his club career.

“I want to continue being a part of the Azkals. I feel like I have a lot more to give,” said Neil.

A SUCCESSFUL TESTAMENT OF WILL AND FORTITUDE

It has been known that Neil’s path to the current level he is in right now as a highly regarded goalkeeper has not been easy.

A promising career early on experienced challenges along the way. However, his persistence and focus eventually put him back at an upward trajectory towards the highest level of competition possible in England – the Premier League.

Such success story make him an example for many. Hence, when asked for advise and message of encouragement in conquering obstacles, especially to people who look up to him as an inspiration here’s what the now larger-than-life Azkal has to say:

“First of all thank you to everyone who supported me. It has been a long journey to get to where I am. It hasn’t been easy. It was a roller-coaster ride. But, ultimately, I think I have the ability to get to where I am. Challenges aren’t just on the field, but off the field too.”

“I’m talking to everyone who’s doing their own job (but are) finding it hard, to look always for the positives, always try to find the light at the end of the tunnel because there’s always one and I hope they find it one day.”

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Azkals overseas: Grommen likely in bench; Ramsay and Hartmann face off in T1

Another busy set of fixtures are set this second weekend of March 2019 for overseas-based Philippine Azkals.

However, according to source, PJ City’s regular starting defender Joshua Grommen is expected to be in the bench against Perak in Malaysia Super League on Saturday as precaution ahead of the two-week break to rest his injured shoulder after almost aggravating it once again in the previous match against Kedah.

Meanwhile Iain Ramsay of Sukhothai FC and Suphanburi forward Mark Hartmann clash in Thai League 1.

Here are the list of fixtures of the Azkals playing in different leagues overseas (All kickoff schedules are in Philippine Standard Time) :

Neil Etheridge, GK – Cardiff City FC [Premier League]

Cardiff City vs West Ham: March 9, Saturday at 11:00PM

Daisuke Sato, DF – Sepsi OSK Sfantu Gheorghe [Romanian Liga I]

CFR Cluj vs Sepsi OSK: March 10, Sunday at 2:15AM

John-Patrick Strauss, MF – FC Erzgebirge Aue [2. Bundesliga (Germany)]

Erzgebirge Aue vs Paderborn: March 9, Saturday at 8:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza, GK – AC Horsens [Danish Superliga]

Randers vs Horsens: March 10, Sunday at 7:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo, DF – PKNP [Malaysia Super League]

JDT vs PKNP: March 9, Saturday at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen, DF – PJ City FC [Malaysia Super League]

Perak vs PJ City: March 9, Saturday at 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt, MF/FW, Melaka United [Malaysia Super League]

Terengganu vs Melaka United: March 9, Saturday at 9:00PM

Luke Woodland, MF/DF – Kuala Lumpur FA [Malaysia Super League]

Kuala Lumpur vs Selangor: March 10, Sunday at 9:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi, MF – JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2 (T2)]

Air Force Central FC vs JL Chiangmai United: March 9, Saturday at 6:45PM

Marco Casambre, DF; Adam Reed, MF – Chainat Hornbill [Thai League 1 (T1)]

Chainat Hornbill vs Singha Chiangrai United: March 9, Saturday at 9:00PM

Michael Falkesgaard, GK – Bangkok United [Thai League 1 (T1)]

Trat FC vs Bangkok United: March 9, Saturday at 6:45PM

Ian Ramsay, MF – Sukhothai FC and Mark Hartmann, FW – Suphanburi FC [Thai League 1 (T1)]

Sukhothai vs Suphanburi: March 10, Sunday at 7:00PM

Amin Nazari MF; Manuel Ott, MF – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol [Thai League 1 (T1)]

Ratchaburi Mitr Phol vs Nakhonratchasima Mazda: March 9, Saturday at 8:00PM

Stephan Palla DF; Javier Patino, FW – Buriram United [Thai League 1 (T1)]

Buriram United vs PT Prachuap: March 9, Saturday at 7:00PM

Image credits: Felda United FC, Suphanburi FC, Sukhothai FC

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Azkals overseas: March 2019 weekend 1 fixtures

A new month is upon us. Here are the fixtures of Philippine internationals who are playing in overseas leagues this weekend.

Note: All schedules are in Philippine Standard Time

Neil Etheridge, GK – Cardiff City FC [Premier League]

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Cardiff City FC: March 2, Saturday at 11:00PM

Daisuke Sato, DF – Sepsi OSK [Romanian Liga I Playoff]

CFR Cluj vs Sepsi OSK: March 4, Monday at 2:00AM

John Patrick Strauss, MF – Erzgebirge Aue [2. Bundesliga]

SV Sandhausen vs Erzgebirge Aue: March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza, GK – AC Horsens [Danish Superliga]

Esbjerg vs AC Horsens – March 3, Sunday at 1:00AM

Jordan Jarvis, DF – Eastern [Hong Kong Premier League]

Sun Pegasus vs Eastern – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo, DF – PKNP [Malaysia Super League]

PKNP vs Pahang – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen, DF – PJ City FC [Malaysia Super League]

Felda United vs PJ City FC – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt, MF – Melaka United vs Luke Woodland, DF – Kuala Lumpur FA [Malaysia Premier League]

Melaka United vs Kuala Lumpur – March 3, Sunday at 9:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi, MF – JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai United vs BG Pathum United – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Mark Hartmann, FW – Suphanburi vs Javier Patino, FW & Stephan Palla, DF – Buriram United [Thai League 1]

DONE: Suphanburi 0 – 0 Buriram United – March 1, Friday at 8:00PM

Michael Falkesgaard, GK – Bangkok United [Thai League 1]

Bangkok United vs Muangthong United – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay, MF – Sukhothai [Thai League 1]

Chiangmai vs Sukhothai – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Marco Casambre, DF & Adam Reed, MF – Chainat Hornbill [Thai League 1]

Trat vs Chainat Hornbill – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Amin Nazari, MF & Manuel Ott, MF – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol [Thai League 1]

Port FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol – March 3, Sunday at 8:00PM

Photo credits: Buriram United Facebook, Suphanburi Facebook, Sukhothai Facebook, Melaka United Facebook, Neil Etheridge Instagram,

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Azkals overseas: February 2019 weekend 4 fixtures

There’s a bit of a shakeup in the Azkals overseas lineup as Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland join PKNP and Kuala Lumpur FA respectively in the Malaysia Super League.

Also, with the Thai League 1 beginning this weekend, it is going to be a pretty busy set of fixtures with the list of matches coming this week [all kickoff schedules are in Philippine Standard Time]:

Neil Etheridge [GK, Cardiff City FC – Premier League]

Cardiff City vs Watford – February 23 [Saturday], 3:45 AM

Daisuke Sato [DF, Sepsi OSK – Romanian Liga I Playoff]

Sepsi OSK vs Viitorul – Feburary 23 [Saturday], 1:00AM

Kevin Ray Mendoza [GK, AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

AC Horsens vs Odense Boldklub – February 24 [Sunday], 9:00PM

John-Patrick Strauß [MF, FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

Erzgebirge Aue vs FC Duisburg – February 24 [Sunday], 9:30PM

Hikaru Minegishi [MF, JL Chiangmai United – Thai League 2]

Sisaket FC vs JL Chiangmai United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

MALAYSIA SUPER LEAGUE

Joshua Grommen [DF, PJ City FC]: PJ City FC vs Kedah FA [Home] – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt [MF/FW, Melaka United]: Johor Darul Ta’zim vs Melaka United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

Luke Woodland [DF/MF, Kuala Lumpur FA]: Kuala Lumpur vs Terengganu – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo [DF, PKNP FC]: PKNS vs PKNP – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

THAI LEAGUE 1

Amin Nazari [MF], Manuel Ott [MF] – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol: Ratchaburi Mitr Phol vs Trat FC – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Marco Casambre [DF], Adam Reed [MF] – Chainat Hornbill vs Mark Hartmann [FW, Suphanburi FC]: Chainat Hornbill vs Suphanburi – February 23 [Saturday], 7:45PM

Stephan Palla [DF], Javier Patino [FW] – Buriram United: Buriram United vs Chonburi – February 23 [Saturday], 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay [MF, Sukhothai FC] vs Michael Falkesgaard [GK, Bangkok United]: Sukhothai vs Bangkok United – Feburary 24 [Sunday], 7:00PM

Photo credits: PKNP FC Instagram, Kuala Lumpur FA Instagram

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Azkals overseas fixtures for February 2019: Weekend 2

The Philippine Azkals based overseas are now slowly getting back into the pitch with the commencement of leagues in Asia while those based in Europe have their respective clubs ready to compete once again after the winter break.

Here are their fixtures you may follow this weekend [kickoff times are in Philippine Standard Time or GMT +8]:

Patrick Reichelt [Melaka United – Malaysia Super League]

PKNS FC vs Melaka United [Away] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 9:00PM

After getting a good start with his new club Melaka United via a win at home against Petaling Jaya City FC, Patrick Reichelt and his teammates are aiming to build on the result as they visit PKNS to make it two wins in two matches.

Joshua Grommen [Petaling Jaya City – Malaysia Super League]

Petaling Jaya City vs Selangor [Home] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen’s club may have slipped in its first MSL assignment against Melaka United but for their second fixture, they get to face Selangor at their home turf.

Although the Filipino defender received plaudits for his combative efforts by playing through an injury, him suiting up this weekend could still be in doubt as he gets monitored on his fitness after suffering a dislocated shoulder.

UPDATE: According to Rudolf, Joshua Grommen’s father, the player will feature for the squad and will wear a special shoulder brace so he can play.

Neil Etheridge [Cardiff City – Premier League]

Southampton vs Cardiff City FC [Away] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 11:00PM

Cardiff City will build on the win they have achieved against Bournemouth the previous matchday with Azkals keeper Neil Etheridge pulling off some crucial saves. But they’ll be facing Southampton next time as visitors while they try to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

Daisuke Sato [Sepsi OSK – Romania Liga I]

Sepsi OSK vs Dinamo Bucuresti [Home]- February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff 2:00AM

Daisuke Sato’s club Sepsi OSK slipped against Voluntari in their post-winter break opener, but the next fixture will still most possibly be a challenge still as they go up against Dinamo Bucuresti, as the Sfantu Gheorghe-based club will try to keep themselves in the top half of the league and avoid the relegation playout.

Hikaru Minegishi [JL Chiangmai United – Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai United vs Udon Thani FC [Home] – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff 7:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi will debut for his newly promoted club JL Chiangmai United in Thailand’s League 2, with the optimism of coming up with an excellent campaign in the second-tier.

Kevin Ray Mendoza Hansen [AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

Hobro vs Horsens [Away] – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff at 7:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza will suit up for AC Horsens after the winter break. Let’s see if he will be a starter for the club.

Horsens still have six games left to improve their standing [currently 8th] and qualify for the championship round.

John-Patrick Strauss [FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

Erzgebirge Aue vs Ingolstadt – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff at 8:30PM

John-Patrick Strauss has yet to feature as a starter after decent performances for the Azkals in both the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and AFC Cup 2019. The club will hope to climb further up the standings as they are currently in the lower half of the table [13th out of 18].

Photo credits: Hikaru Minegishi, Sepsi OSK, Cardiff City FC, Melaka United SA

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Azkals in overseas clubs: 1st weekend of February 2019 fixtures

With club football starting to be back [with the exception of the Premier League] for several countries as the winter break comes to a close while the football season slowly begins in Asia, here is the list of games this weekend in different leagues where several Philippine Azkals are playing.

Note: All kick-off times are in Philippine Standard Time [GMT +8]

Azkals clash in Malaysia Super League: Patrick Reichelt [Winger/Forward, Melaka United] vs Joshua Grommen [Defender, Petaling Jaya City FC]

Melaka United begin their Super League season at home against Petaling Jaya City on February 2, 2019. Kickoff time is at 9:00 PM.

Neil Etheridge [Goalkeeper, Cardiff City FC; Premier League]

Away fixture vs Bournemouth on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff time is at 1:30 AM.

Daisuke Sato [Defender, Sepsi OSK; Romanian Liga I]

Away fixture vs Voluntari on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff time is 11:30 PM.

John-Patrick Strauß [Midfielder, FC Erzgebirge Aue; 2. Bundesliga]

Home fixture vs FC Köln on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff Time is 8:30 PM.

Photo credits: Rudolf Holland, FC Erzgebirge Aue, Melaka United SA, Daisuke Sato, Neil Etheridge

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Azkals’ Iain Ramsay officially unveiled by Sukhothai FC

The Philippine Azkals’ winger Iain Ramsay has been formally announced by Sukhothai last January 21 as one of their latest additions ahead of the 2019 Thai League 1 season.

After suiting up for the Philippine squad in its AFC Asian Cup debut as one of the key substitutes under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Ramsay headed to Thailand for the announcement of his acquisition.

Before joining Sukhothai FC, Iain Ramsay played for Felda United in the Malaysian Premier League where he was able to help the Pahang-based club win the title and get automatic promotion to the top-flight, the Malaysian Super League.

Operating lately as an advanced left-winger with a primary role as a provider, Ramsay is likely to be expected initially to do the same for his new club by knocking in dangerous crosses for his team’s strikers to work on. But, it is also of note that the Filipino is a capable goalscorer if an opportunity arises.

Ramsay will play under manager Ljubomir Ristovski as the club aims for a much better showing in 2019 after concluding the previous season in the lower half of the standings at 11th place out of the 18-team league.

Thai League 1 commence its 2019 season on February 22.

Photo credit: Sukhothai FC Facebook Page