THE Philippine Azkals national men’s football team will put up a good showing in the coming 2016 Asean Football Federation-Suzuki Cup.
Veteran team member James Younghusband made this guarantee as their preparation for the tournament enters its final phases.
“In our last game, getting the win and spending time together has made the team close. We have shown good form in the way we defended,” said Younghusband.
Younghusband, who has been with the Azkals for 11 years, said the team will have no problem with cohesiveness this time around.
“We have players of quality. Really talented players. There’s no problem jelling with them,” added Younghusband.
Much is expected of the Azkals after making it to three consecutive semifinal finishes in the tournament.
Their improving results against Asian opposition was seen in their recent friendlies with Bahrain, North Korea and Kyrgystan.
Because of this, their performances at the 2010, 2012 and 2014 editions of the Suzuki Cups are things that the opposition will look into, comparing them with the team’s present showing.
The Azkals are also considered serious contenders following their win in 2018 World Cup qualification over North Korea and Bahrain.
It is only Thailand that the Azkals have not managed to beat convincingly.
Injured winger Patrick Reichelt maybe a doubtful starter, so the team’s chances will also lie in how Younghusband and the Ott brothers, Mike and Manny, and Stephan Schrock will carry the team at the midfield.
Meanwhile, interim head coach V. Sundramoorthy will make his debut with Singapore when they meet the Azkals at 8 p.m. Friday at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
Nicknamed ‘The Dazzler’ by fans during his playing days, Sundramoorthy is already in Manila with the team.
Sundram took over the Lions in May this year, and is expected to hold his ground against Azkals’ coach Thomas Dooley.
Reports said that Sundram’s one-year contract will be extended should the Lions reach the semifinals.
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