PH to field younger Azkals vs Singapore in Suzuki Cup
The Philippine Azkals will be fielding a younger team compared to the ones in previous AFF Suzuki Cup tournaments when they take on Singapore on the opening day of the tournament at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Since the last Suzuki Cup, we’ve had a lot of players retire and some players injured, and we’re glad to have our young players come through,” Phil Younghusband, now the team captain, said in ABS-CBN Sports.
“For the development of the team and the development of Philippine football, young players need to come in and gain experience. I think with this squad, you’ll see a lot of young players.”
Gone from the team are Rob Gier, Chris Greatwich and Juani Guirado.
Javier Patino and Daisuke Sato will also miss the tournament due to club commitments.
Patino recently signed with Henan Jianye, while Sato flew back to Romania because he could not get a release from Politehnica.
Younghusband said, the players will be younger than Stephan Schrock.
“We always joke that Schroecky, he was one of the youngsters, and now he’s our oldest player, and he’s not even old,” he said.
Mike Ott, Paolo Bugas, Junior Muñoz, OJ Porteria and Kenshiro Daniels will be fielded in this year’s tournament. There’s also Misagh Bahadoran, who has been making gains in his position as a striker.
“We have a young squad, a very talented squad that’s full of energy and eager to learn. I think it’s good for the team, good development that the young players are coming through,” said Younghusband.
“Eventually they’ll be the experienced players, in the position we are now.”
The Azkals, who already reached the semifinals thrice, will go through the group stage that includes four-time winners Singapore and Thailand, and perennial underachiever and equally hungry Indonesia.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.