Thursday, October 27, 2011

Confirmed : Beckham coming to Manila in December

Source : Ryan Fenix, InterAKTV

One of football’s biggest superstars, David Beckham, is coming to Manila.

The English footballer will be part of the Los Angeles Galaxy side that will play the Philippine national men’s football team at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on December 3.

The news was confirmed by Galaxy business operations Tom Payne in a news conference at the EDSA Shangri-la on Thursday. Against the Azkals, he said that the LA team will be looking to play “a memorable game that people will remember.”

The Galaxy, which is in the midst of a hunt for the Major League Soccer title, promised to come with a full lineup, barring injury. Apart from Beckham, the LA roster also includes American football star Landon Donovan and prolific Irish striker Robbie Keane.

Payne gave credit to the local promoters for stepping up to make the matchup possible.

“We talked to 15-20 promoters. [But] they really wanted us,” he said, adding that the team is excited to be coming to “a market that doesn’t have these kinds of matches that often.” Unlike in its Southeast Asian neighbors, football in the Philippines had lagged in popularity behind basketball and boxing until the recent success of the Azkals.

“It’s the perfect time to bring the Galaxy especially when the Azkals are very hot right now.”

Payne flew in this week to inspect the venue, which he found to be suitable if a little small. The matchup with the Azkals is part of the Galaxy’s tour in the Pacific. The team had long been booked to play against the Melbourne Victory in Australia on December 6.

As part of the side’s Manila stopover, Galaxy players, including Beckham, will also conduct a football clinic on December 2. There are also plans to hold a fans’ day featuring Beckham.

Tickets will be made available to the public in the first week of November.

Azkals management has already sent invitations to members playing abroad. Defender Ray Jonsson has already committed, while goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is working on his availability. Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara might also come, while the team is still waiting on word from prolific midfielder Stephan Schrock.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami described the match against the Galaxy as “coming full circle.” The national football team shot into prominence with its 2-0 victory in the 2010 Suzuki Cup, which was played almost a year earlier, December 5, 2010, than the scheduled match versus the MLS Side.

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