Azkals return to action in Bahrain friendlies this September
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 01, 2018 02:15 PM
Back to work for the Philippine Azkals.
The revamped Philippine Azkals will be returning to the pitch when they set out on a pair of international friendlies this September.
The Azkals will be travelling to Bahrain to face a yet-to-be-determined Bahraini club team on September 7th, before taking on the Bahrain Men's National Football team on September 11th.
The Philippines has a ton of history against Bahrain, having won just once and drawn just once in five prior meetings.
The friendlies will mark the debut of newly-appointed head coach, English football legend Terry Butcher, who was introduced last June.
The September friendlies will kickstart the Azkals' preparations for their upcoming campaigns in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup in November and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup which begins on January of 2019.
Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta also revealed plans of having another friendly to be played at the Rizal Memorial Football Field in Manila, giving the Pinoy fans a chance to see their national team.
"There will be another FIFA window in October and we are trying to arrange a friendly for the team at the Rizal Memorial Stadium as want the fans to see the squad in action," Mariano said, via The AFC website.
The planned October friendly will be the Azkals' last before they embark on the Suzuki Cup, which has the Philippine side grouped with powerhouses Thailand and Indonesia, as well as Singapore and the winner of the Qualifying Rounds between Brunei and Timor-Leste.
The Azkals will try to at least return to the semifinals after missing out on the final four in their previous run in the tournament in 2016.
"We have the same group as in the 2016 Suzuki Cup, so it’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves and do better.” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami in an earlier interview.
An even more challenging group awaits the Azkals in the Asian Cup, wherein they'll be facing South Korea, China, and Kyrgyzstan.
"The Asian Cup draw is a difficult group, but there are other groups that are more tough. It will be great to get the experience of playing a World Cup side to see what level we are at.” Azkals team captain Phil Younghusband said.