Azkals line up key friendlies ahead of Challenge Cup

Preparations are getting underway for the competition that offers the winner a chance to join the region's best in Australia for the 2015 Asian Cup
Philippines have set their eyes on an Asian Cup berth via the AFC Challenge Cup route, and the preparations are already underway for the tournament that is only commencing in March of 2014.

“The target is to win the tournament (AFC Challenge Cup) and reach the Asian Cup,” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami to

The Azkals are hoping to arrange friendly fixtures against New Zealand and fellow Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) member New Caledonia in September.

Mid-October sees the team taking part in the Philippine Peace Cup, a competition the home side won last year against the likes of Chinese-Taipei, Guam and Macau.

Monico Puentevella, the mayor of host city for this year's Peace Cup, Bacolod, told reporters that fans can expect participants from outside of Asia.

"This time, our national team will be playing against the top teams from Europe,” said Puentevella who is also a FIFA Marketing and Television executive. Kyrgyzstan, who will be participating in the AFC Challenge Cup, are rumoured to be a participant as well.

The Azkals last international match was against Indonesia a week ago at Surakarta. The host country won the game 2-0 with goals from Greg Nwokolo and Muhammad Roby.