By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TWO more friendly matches against formidable international sides have been
confirmed for the Philippine football team preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup in
The Azkals, who already have six matches lined up in September, will have two
more tough assignments in the next two months, facing Kuwait on Oct. 16 and
Singapore on Nov. 15 before they plunge into action in the Suzuki Cup in Bangkok
from Nov. 24 to 31.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said Kuwait
has agreed to host the October friendly, which comes after a weeklong training
camp in Manama, Bahrain.
Though nothing more than Fifa ranking points are at stake, the Azkals are
still out to settle a score against Kuwait’s Al-Azraq, who booted them out of
World Cup qualifying.
The Azkals lost 1-5 on aggregate, yielding 0-3 in Kuwait and 1-2 in the
return leg in Manila in July last year.
The Azkals, who are coming off a two-week training camp in Chicago, will also
face Bahrain on Oct. 12.
The match against Singapore on Nov. 15 will be staged in Cebu, marking the
first time the Queen City of the South hosts an Azkals match.
It will actually be the second meeting between Singapore and the Philippines,
which will also square off in a friendly in Singapore on Sept. 7.
The Azkals have five more matches in September, beginning with a duel with
Cambodia on Sept. 5 in Phnom Penh and a showdown with Laos on Sept. 10 in
Veterans Phil and James Younghusband are expected to be back in the PH side
after missing training camp in Chicago because of other commitments.
Phil, the top scorer of the AFC Challenge Cup last March, has reiterated his
commitment to the national side.
“I’m very committed; I start training in a few days,” said Phil after scoring
a hat trick for his squad in a 5-1 win over a team bannered by older brother
James in a charity match Saturday night at the University of Makati field.