How ready is the Philippine Azkals national men’s football team for the AFF Suzuki Cup?
Coach Thomas Dooley will find out when the Azkals clash with the Kyrgystan men’s squad, known as the White Falcons, tonight in a friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
“This team is stronger than Bahrain. We learned a lot in our last game. We hope to improve,” said Dooley a day before their 8 p.m. Showdown.
The Azkals’ last two outings against Bahrain and North Korea were setbacks, and they feel their friendly with Kyrgystan will be a learning experience.
“This will be our preparation for the Suzuki Cup. We will know where we are after this game,” said Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband.
There will be new faces on the PH team, including midfielder Hikaru “Pika” Minegishi, who recently earned the Golden Ball award in the UFL as its best player. But the 25-year-old is still having his passport processed and may not be present.
Then there’s Kaya’s Shirmar Felongco, a left-sided defender with experience in the recent AFC Cup.
Marco Casambre, a national under-19 center-back, has been practicing with the Azkals and is considered one of its strongest prospects. He was part of the University of the Philippines Maroons team that recently won the Unigames in Dumaguete City.