AFC Asian Cup qualification round
By Jerome S. Galunan, Jr.
With the latest FIFA rankings revealing the Philippine national football team, the Azkals, moving up seven spots to number 123 in the world, Azkals team manager Dan Palami said the rise makes their next Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualification round match, against Nepal in November, all the more important.
“That is why we need to win our next game against Nepal,” he said. “This should be the priority of [the] PFF (Philippine Football Federation) and all stakeholders of Philippine football.”
The Philippines currently leads Group F and is set to meet Nepal on November 14 at the Halchowk Stadium in Kathmandu. In their previous match, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium back in March, the Philippines won, 4-1.
Meanwhile, Palami also discussed next year’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship, which will be implementing a new format where teams will have an opportunity to play on their home soil, instead of within a host country. The move is said to generate larger audiences by having teams play in their home stadiums.
“Until we manage to do proper marketing for the games – what the Azkals management will be doing this time – there will be no advantage for the team,” he said.
The Philippines co-hosted the last AFF Championships in 2016 with Myanmar. The Azkals were eliminated following the group stages after failing to produce a single win./JSG, WDJ