Following the cancellation of the FIFA international friendly against Turkmenistan, the Philippine Men’s National Football Team (Azkals) now has its eyes set on the upcoming fixture away at Kyrgyzstan where they shall face the national team of the said country.
Azkals coach Thomas Dooley trained the squad at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila last August 30, 2016 (Wednesday). There were five more players who joined the training session who weren’t in the original list. These players were Simon Greatwich, Dominic Del Rosario, Jovin Bedic, Paolo Bugas and Fitch Arboleda.
All five players currently compete in the United Football League. Del Rosario and Bedic currently play for Kaya Football Club, while Bugas, Greatwich and Arboleda are lined up by Global FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks and Stallions FC respectively.
Out of the five, it’s only Arboleda who hasn’t been officially capped by the Azkals. Also something to note is that Bugas, Arboleda and Del Rosario competed in the 2015 South East Asian Games as part of the squad handled by veteran coach Marlon Maro. With the addition of the five players, there are now twenty-seven players pushing for a spot in the Kyrgyzstan game.
The away fixture at Kyrgyzstan will be played in the country’s capital Bishkek on September 6, 2016 (Tuesday). Before this game, the Azkals were scheduled to play Turkmenistan but the fixture was cancelled after the latter country pulled out. There is still no word, though, if the Kyrgyzstan game will be cancelled considering there was just a suicide bombing attack at the country’s Chinese embassy this week.
This friendly is part of the Azkals’ preparations for the upcoming 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup which will be hosted by the Philippines. Following this fixture, the Azkals are set to face their counterparts from Bahrain on October 7, 2016 (Friday) at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
Parts of this report came from tweets of the Cedelf Tupas