Also-ran Yemen hoping to spoil Azkals’ World Cup qualifying bid
Despite the unfortunate conditions back home, Yemen is shooting for a better outcome than the last time it faced the Philipines when the two teams clash anew in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on Thursday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Yemen coach Ameen Ali Alsunaia admits that even the sports programs of their country have been affected by the ongoing Yemeni crisis, forcing the football team to train outside of Yemen for the past few months.
“Unfortunately, our country has been facing with a lot of difficulties. The war affected all our sports activities,” he said at the pre-match press conference at Manila Hotel on Wednesday.
Already eliminated in the group stages, the Yemenis will be playing for pride as the winless side eyes a more respectable run despite all the hardships due to the war.
“We can’t train and can’t play in Yemen, and the league was stopped. We’re living out of our country and has been training in Qatar for the last three months,” shared Alsunaiai. “We also have a very young team. We have some absences, three to four players who can’t join the team. These are some of the difficulties that we are facing.”
Despite their record, the Group H cellar-dwellers can put a huge dent in the Philippines’ chances of advancing to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers with a shocking win.
Alsuinaiai, though, admits that the Philippines is a formidable side.
“We respect the Philippine team. They showed good performance in their games and they have disciplined players.”
The Yemenis lost to the Filipinos 2-0 in Doha last June.
“We will try to play a good match tomorrow. Our mission is to have a good performance in this match, unlike what we had in our first game,” goalkeeper Mohammed Ayash said.