PHILIPPINE coach Thomas Dooley will maximize the remaining international match dates to whip the Azkals into their best fighting shape when they vie in the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
The Azkals open their campaign on Nov. 19 against Indonesia at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, before playing Singapore three days later. Defending champion Thailand will be the Azkals’ last assignment on Nov. 25.
Only the top two teams from the group qualify for the semifinals and Dooley said “the draw suits his team perfectly.”
“It cant get any better as we play three teams that eliminated us from the semifinals, so we can get a little bit of revenge,” said Dooley.
Dooley said the Azkals will play North Korea in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Sept. 1, before flying to Ashgabat to face Kyrgyzstan on Sept. 6.
The international match dates in October will be used for a match against Puerto Rico and Bahrain at home, Dooley said.
Azkals manager Dan Palami called on stakeholders of the sport to come together to help the team achieve success in the tournament where they have reached the semifinals the past three editions starting in 2010.
“If all stakeholders will cooperate with the plan for the Azkals, the team can achieve a lot in the tournament,” said Palami. “We have a clear plan on how to prepare the team, but it requires stakeholders to cooperate.”
Palami has rued a missed opportunity to play two matches in Spain in October that could have helped level up the preparations for the Suzuki Cup.
“We’re still hoping to have a training camp for the team one month before the Suzuki Cup,” said Palami.