PFF: ‘Home’ could boost Azkals’ bid
HOSTING the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time could just be the boost the Philippine Azkals need to get over the hump in the region’s most prestigious football tournament late next year.
The Azkals reached the semifinals in the last three tournaments and Philippine Football Federation general secretary Ed Gastanes believes the home advantage will take them farther this time.
“We are hopeful that the Azkals playing at home will give them the necessary boost to make at least the finals this time,” said Gastanes, who attended the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate Tuesday.
The three other countries that will join the Philippines in the group as well as the other bracket that will play in Myanmar will be known in the official draw on Aug. 2.
Only the top two teams from the group will qualify to the semifinals. Six teams, including defending champion Thailand, are already in the main draw of the tournament with two more squads entering the group stage via a qualifying tournament in Cambodia in October.
Gastanes said the federation will leave no stone unturned as it prepares to host the tournament from Nov. 19 to 26 at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan and Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“It’s a big challenge and an opportunity for all football stakeholders in the country,” said Gastanes.
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