AFC Challenge Cup 2012: Philippines weakened as EPL and Danish Superliga players skip


The Azkals, as the Philippines national football team is called, will have a tough challenge in the AFC Challenge Cup as two hi-profile players based in Europe will not be available for their campaign.

The preparations of the team has been all but smooth. The club vs country rift ensured that the players assembled together once or twice a week for the camp! Coach Dan Palami was already frustrated with the local clubs not releasing players. Now the two star players he was bamking on have also been denied participation.

Filipino-Danish Jerry Lucena and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge have been ruled out of the tournament. Jerry Lucena plays for the Danish superliga side AGF Aarhus. He is a strong full-back and also doubles up as midfielder. Lucena has already represented the Denmark U21 national football team.

“Jerry’s club wrote to us saying he can’t be released because they are preparing for important matches,”

 Dan Palami.

Neil Etheridge is another talented player of English-Filipino origin who is in the Fulham FC. He has spent 3 years in the Chelsea youth academy but he has never played in the EPL and is in the reserve side.

Ironically, Etheridge will be available for the Feb. 29 friendly against Malaysia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, but will be unavailable for the AFC Challenge Cup.



  1. nice!! but a thought, A guy who has played for Denmark U21 now plays for Phillipines?? hmm something for the AIFF to think abt if they could find Indian born footballers in UK, Micheal chopra anyone?

    • Chopra wont play. He is willing to play for India 100% but give up his English passport for an Indian one and facing expulsion from the Championship. Ya, not really on his mind.

      • I get that, Thats bcos he will be bcome classified as a non Euro Player and Restrictions on the no of games minimum he will need to play

  2. Good for India. And somewhat good for the Penos. If they get massacred in the Cup then at least they would get massacred knowing it was there reserves who lost

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