The Philippine Men's National Football Team, the Azkals, journey towards the World Cup dream continues tomorrow as they face Yemen in their third match for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
This time, the Azkals will be tapping the support of the football-loving Negrense crowd, who had shown their passion for the sport as they packed the Panaad Stadium during the games of the Ceres-Negros FC.
The loyalty and support of the Negros crowd tomorrow, hopefully, can deliver another 3 points for the Azkals for them to remain on top in Group F in the Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The Philippine Team showed superiority over Nepal, 4-1, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in March, then followed it up with a dazzling first half to neutralize Tajikistan, 4-3, in Dushanbe two months ago to earn 6 points in the Asian Cup qualifiers.
“Against Tajistan, we scored three goals in first half and all everything we did was play. The team did that. We created those chances and their goals were like pre-Christmas gifts we gave away two months ago,” Azkals Head Coach Tom Dooley said in a press conference Saturday.
He considers the match tomorrow as the most important one, citing that Yemen is a very strong team. The Azkals beat Yemen, 2-0, in Doha, Qatar June 2015 during the World Cup Qualifier but the team from Western Asia got their revenge five months later at the Rizal Stadium, 1-0.
“Yemen is the team that does not give us a lot of spaces but we have a group that I believe in and I trust every single one when they step into that field that they bring 100 percent of their skills that they have into that collective team,” Dolley said.
“It's a hardwork and you don't get results in talking. You have to be on the pitch and you have to do your job. It's something you have to focus 100 percent, every single one to get the job done and I think we can do that,” Dooley added.
Meanwhile, assistant coach Chieffy Caligdong said the Azkals have a very good chance of getting the three points against Yemen tomorrow.
“We have scouted them, assessed their strengths and weaknesses, talked about the play and possibilities. Our team has been preparing and we are ready for them,” Caligdong said.
Phil Younghusband, who last played at the Panaad Stadium four years ago, said he is glad to back in Bacolod and the game against Yemen as another opportunity to make history in Philippine football.
“We are all excited and proud to represent the country,” Younghusband said.*NAB