The Philippine Azkals are facing personnel issues just six days before they commence their make-or-break campaign in the final qualifying round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Mongolia.
Azkals mentor Thomas Dooley announced through a Facebook post this evening that as many as eight players will miss the team’s first game in the mini-tournament but one of them will be available for the next two fixtures.
“Raphael Obermaier, Patrick Strauss, Michael Kempter, Carli de Murga, Kevin Ingreso, Amani Aguinaldo, Diego Bardanca; seven defensive players; and forward Gerrit Holtmann,” read the 61-year-old’s post.
“At least Gerrit will join the team after the game against Yemen. Seven defensive players will be missed in our qualification tournament. What a bummer!!!”
There is still no word as to why the players stated will miss out on the action. It remains to be seen as well if new players will be called up to become replacements for those unavailable.
Daisuke Sato and Jefferson Tabinas are some of the guys expected to be handed more responsibility in the backline while Jesse Curran has played as a full-back throughout his career.
Dooley’s men take on Yemen next Wednesday, Mongolia the following Saturday, and cap off their campaign against Palestine on Tuesday as they seek to book a ticket in next year’s Asian Cup.