By Cedelf Tupas
Buoyed by its stunning upset of North Korea and a creditable showing against Uzbekistan in its last two games, the Philippines climbed to its highest-ever position of No. 116 in the latest FIFA rankings.
The Azkals made the biggest leap among Asian teams, moving up 19 places to their latest position, which team manager Dan Palami said only reflects the current form of the national side.
On top of registering the biggest reversal of the qualifying round with a 3-2 win over North Korea last week at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the Azkals also reclaimed the billing as Southeast Asia’s top ranked nation ahead of Thailand which is at No. 119.
The Thais advanced to the 12-team final round of World Cup Qualifying while the Azkals got the next best thing with a third round spot in Asian Cup Qualifying.
“I’m happy that our tireless efforts to improve the team has translated to a higher ranking,” said Palami who has bankrolled the side along with the Philippine Football Federation since 2010. “Our target was always to push Azkals to the Top 100 and get the team to play better and at a higher level against the stronger teams in Asia.”
Palami said that winning the Suzuki Cup and qualifying for the Asian Cup in 2019 will be the next targets of the Azkals.
“With our current ranking, we should aim high and believe that we can win the Suzuki Cup and qualify for the Asian Cup,” he added.
Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/210457/philippine-azkals-record-highest-fifa-ranking-at-116#ixzz458dyazdR