Badly needing matches to improve cohesion, the Philippines continues its buildup for the AFF Suzuki Cup with a showdown against Malaysia on Oct. 11 at Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor, Malaysia.
The Football Association of Malaysia confirmed the international friendly match in its website Tuesday.
The friendly marks the second time the two sides played this year after their scoreless draw last March. It was coach Thomas Dooley’s first match in charge of the Azkals who were then preparing for the AFC Challenge Cup in the Maldives.
Dooley wants the Azkals to play six matches prior to the Suzuki Cup. But the team has found difficulty arranging international friendly matches this month until the Malaysia duel was finally approved.
Azkals manager Dan Palami said the team will hold one more training camp in the Middle East before plunging into action in the regional tournament where the Filipino booters are back to back semifinalists.
Malaysia is also preparing for the Suzuki Cup which the Tigers won in 2010. They will be playing in Group B against host Singapore, Thailand and the qualifying round topnotcher.
The Azkals are in the other group playing in Hanoi where they face Vietnam, Indonesia and the No. 2 qualifier starting Nov. 20.
The Philippines is coming off a 2-3 loss to Burma (Myanmar) in the Philippine Peace Cup finals early last month. The loss, however, did not affect the Azkals’ standing in the region as they remained the top team in Southeast Asia at No. 134.