While it is just a friendly, both Indonesia and the Philippines have plenty to play for in tonight’s match at Jose Riza Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Indonesia has never lost to the Philippines, drawing once in 19 encounters since 1958. The Azkals hope to prove themselves after the lack of a suitable stadium cost them the chance to host the Merah Putih in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals.
The Philippines is 148th in the FIFA ranking, three places better than Indonesia, but Merah Putih coach Nil Maizar said he was confident his side’s domination would continue.
“It won’t be easy, but we’ll try to use every attacking option that we have to win it. A win will give us more points for the FIFA ranking,” said Nil, who is two months into his job after replacing Wim Rijsbergen, who the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) moved to technical director.
Indonesia brought 19 players to Manila, blending players from the squad that reached the semifinals of the Al-Nakba International Tournament in Palestine last month with those from the team that lost 4-2 to Inter Milan on May 26.
“The fact that we could score two goals against a top Italian club such as Inter is really encouraging,” Nil said. “That’s why I’ll try an offensive strategy against [the Philippines].”
Patrich Wanggai and Yosua Pahabol, who each scored against Inter, will likely lead the Indonesian attack.
Persidafon Dafonsoro striker Patrich, like fellow call-ups Titus Bonai (Persipura Jayapura) and Oktovianus Maniani (Persiram Raja Ampat), plays in the Indonesian Super League. FIFA prohibits players from unsanctioned leagues from representing their country, but that has not stopped the PSSI from selecting the Papuan trio.
Indonesia’s only official “A” internationals since being forced to use Indonesian Premier League players were the 10-0 loss at Bahrain and a 2-0 defeat of 201st-ranked Mauritania in Palestine.
Nil highlighted the Philippines’ improvement and said “the biggest threat will be their naturalized players.” Azkals coach Michael Weiss called up several players of Filipino-German descent for the match, such as goalkeeper Roland Muller, midfielder Stephan Schrock and striker Denis Wolf, who scored his first goal for the Philippines in a 1-1 draw at Malaysia on Friday.
However, Schrock will miss today’s match after returning to Germany for an unspecified family emergency.
Goalkeepers: Markus Haris Maulana, Endra Prasetya
Defenders: Abdul Rahman, Hamdi Ramdhan, Nopendi, Hengky Ardiles, Satrio Syam, Novan Setya
Midfielders: Lucky Wahyu, Valentino Telaubun, Rusdi Malawat, Hendra Bayauw, Vendry Mofu, Oktovianus Maniani