MANILA, Philippines — There could be a slew of new faces seeing action for the Philippines when it plays a couple of friendlies early next month as part of its buildup for the AFC Challenge Cup.
Coach Thomas Dooley, who took over early this month, is keen to test some of the local-based players for the match against Malaysia on March 1 in Kuala Lumpur, with most Europe-based players unavailable for the game and several key players injured.
Among the players expected to see action against Malaysia is Martin Steuble, the Fil-Swiss midfielder, who traces his roots in Bacolod.
Steuble who secured his Philippine passport recently, plays in the Swiss league.
“I want to give players experience and show me what they have to offer for the team,” Dooley told the Inquirer.
Dooley has tested several new players and returnees, including Kaya’s Anton Del Rosario and former Loyola striker Chad Gould as well as teenager Kenshiro Daniel.
They join the initial pool bannered by veterans Chris Greatwich, Ed Sacapano, Patrick Reichelt and Jeffrey Christiaens.
Azkals manager Dan Palami said that Phil and James Younghusband could be rested for the match against Malaysia to allow them to recover from injuries, while Chieffy Caligdong has already been ruled out of the clash because of a foot injury.
“Coach Dooley may try out some new players. He may experiment but this is just one of the steps we need to take in our mission to win the Challenge Cup,” Palami said.