Philippine Azkals stalwarts Misagh Bahadoran and James Younghusband sounded out the call for the team’s 12th man—the home crowd—to step up as they bid for glory in the AFF Suzuki Cup starting Saturday when they face Singapore.
Gracing the AFF Suzuki Cup Trophy Tour at SM North last Saturday night, Bahadoran expressed hopes for more crowd support as the Azkals gun for a first Suzuki Cup crown, after three straight semifinal appearances.
The Azkals have been playing before fewer spectators compared to recent years in their last few friendly matches at Rizal Memorial Stadium, including the 1-0 win over Kyrgyzstan last Wednesday.
And with the current trend, it will be tough to fill the 25,000-seater Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, to its capacity.
“We really need your support,” Bahadoran addressed the crowd in the mall, where the AFF Suzuki Cup trophy was displayed.
The 30-year-old Younghusband said having a packed PSS could just give the Azkals the boost that they need to hurdle a tough group that also includes Indonesia and defending champion Thailand.
“We’ve experienced playing in large crowds in the Suzuki Cup and the atmosphere could get intimidating for away teams,” said Younghusband. “We hope to have that kind of atmosphere here.”