Karl Decena, InterAKTV
The Philippine national men’s football team will face familiar foe Indonesia in a friendly match this year.
The Azkals will meet the Indonesians on August 14 at Surakarta, Indonesia, according to the latest fixtures released by world governing football body FIFA.
Ranked 144th in the world, the Filipinos are no strangers to 168th-ranked Indonesians. They met during the semifinals of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in 2010 in which the Azkals were forced to play their home match in Indonesia due to the lack of a suitable venue in the Philippines. Indonesia prevailed on a 2-0 aggregate win.
The two sides played again last year in a friendly, this time on Philippine soil. The Azkals rallied to force a 2-2 draw.
The Philippine team, which has no major tournament scheduled this year, last saw action in their 1-0 victory against Hong Kong last June in a match marred by racial abuse of local fans toward Filipino supporters.
The Azkals are also scheduled to play a tough United Arab Emirates side in November in what could be part of their training tour in the Middle East.
The matches are part of the Azkals’ preparations for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Maldives, where they aim to surpass their historic third-place finish in the same tournament last year.