By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - Higher-ranked Kyrgyzstan will provide the Philippine Azkals another big test and good workout ahead of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup when they clash again in an international friendly on Nov. 9 at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The 108th-ranked Kyrgyz will actually fly to Manila all the more determined to win and get back at the 125th-ranked Pinoy booters, who dealt them a 1-2 home loss in their Sept. 6 friendly over in Bishek.
The Azkals, for their part, will seek to score a repeat and a confidence-booster following their disappointing 1-3 setbacks to Bahrain and North Korea in their recent friendlies, also at the Rizal pitch.
“There’s one game to go before the Suzuki Cup and it will be nice to win it to get confidence back in the team going into the Suzuki Cup,” said Iain Ramsay.
The Pinoy booters are expected to return to training camp in the last week of October in the final push for the Asean tournament, which the country will be hosting for the first time beginning Nov. 19 at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
“Everybody can see we have a lot to do but still enough time to learn from our mistakes, improve some things, and get better, fitter, and fresher (for the Suzuki Cup),” said Stephan Schrock.
Phl XI is bunched with champion Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in Group A of the Suzuki Cup, aiming to make the most of the home advantage to advance to the semis for the fourth straight tournament and eventually the finals.