Azkals to play World Cup qualifiers home games at PSS
The newly-built Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan will serve as the Philippine Azkals’ home field when they vie in the World Cup Qualifiers starting with the showdown with Bahrain on June 11.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta said the PSS was an easy choice as the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned facility can seat 20,000 people with a natural grass pitch.
“We will be playing our officials matches here (at PSS),” said Araneta, who attended the AFC Cup match between Global and Yadanarbon at the PSS Wednesday night.
Araneta felt the Azkals could have gotten a better draw in the World Cup Qualifiers, after the Filipinos were grouped with Uzbekistan, Bahrain, North Korea and Yemen. The PFF chief pointed to the difficulty of traveling for away matches that could take a toll on the team.
“My concern is the travel of the team,” said Araneta, citing the away games in October that sees the Azkals traveling to Pyongyang for the match against North Korea, before traveling on Oct. 13 to Manama for the away leg against Bahrain.
The PFF chief said the priority now is to have all players available for the matches.
“We have to make sure that we have all the players are available that they will be able to train together next month and hopefully we can arrange one friendly here in May,” said Araneta.
Stephan Schrock is expected to return to the side after reconciling with coach Thomas Dooley, who is expected to tap new recruits Iain Ramsay, Stephen Palla and Luke Woodland to boost the roster for the qualifying campaign.