The return of Phil and James Younghusband to the national team would have to wait due to scheduling difficulties caused by an earlier commitment – in a scenario that closely mirrored past incidents that led to their dropping from the squad during the Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup last month.
The Fil-British brothers have now been ruled out of the Philippines’ international friendly match against Bahrain on Friday in Manama, Bahrain.
Although they have already been released by their club Loyola Meralco Sparks for national team duty, the Younghusband brothers decided to schedule their departure later than what was suggested by the Philippine Football Federation which wanted them to leave Tuesday to give them ample time to aclimatize and train with the team.
But Cathy Rivilla, the Younghusband brothers’ business partner, said the brothers could not back out of a commitment to a corporate client which fell on the same day of the PFF’s suggested departure date.
Aside from their club football duties with Loyola Meralco, the Younghusbands also dabble in running a football school as well as product endorsements.
Rivilla said their commitment to a client was scheduled before they were recalled to the national side last week. Rivilla said backing out would also mean the Younghusband brothers taking a hit financially.
The brothers have openly declared their desire to return to the national team but wanted to leave for Bahrain only on Wednesday, less than 48 hours before the match.
In contrast, Loyola players Ref Cuaresma and Anto Gonzales immediately flew to Bahrain following the Sparks’ campaign in the RHB Singapore Cup last Sunday.
As a result of the scheduling difficulties, PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said the federation decided it was best for Phil and James to fly straight to Kuwait this weekend in preparation for the friendly match against Kuwait on Oct. 16.
Notwithstanding the Younghusband brothers’ absence, the Azkals have an experienced side for the two matches in the Middle East, which forms part of their preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup. The Azkals welcome goalkeeper Roland Muller, Juani Guirado, Jerry Lucena, Ray Jonsson, Dennis Cagara and Paul Mulders back in the side, whose core is coming off an impressive run in the Peace Cup. Guirado hasn’t played since the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal, where he scored his first international goal – against Palestine. Jonsson is also playing his first game for the Azkals since March, while Lucena and Mulders are back after missing the Peace Cup last month. “The most important thing for us is to have more games together,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. Defender Jason Sabio did not fly with the team to Bahrain due to a groin injury he aggravated in the Peace Cup, while Demitrius Omphroy is recovering from a stomach flu.