Azkals back as No. 1 team in Southeast Asia | Inquirer Sports

Azkals back as No. 1 team in Southeast Asia

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 03:01 AM September 16, 2016

THE PHILIPPINES is back as Southeast Asia’s top-ranked football team.

Boosted by their 2-1 away win over Kyrgyzstan in a friendly last week, the Azkals, who are hosting the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November, climbed nine places in the latest rankings released by the International Football Federation (Fifa) on Thursday.

Returning to action after a five-month hiatus from international play, the Azkals collected 296 points over the past month based on the ranking system that also weighs results of the past four years, supplanting Thailand as the region’s top side.


The Azkals are also at 17th spot in the Asian rankings. The team also held the top ranking in the region last May, going as high as No. 115 following its impressive 3-2 win over North Korea in World Cup Qualifying.


“The improvement in our rankings will only motivate the team to prepare well for the Suzuki Cup,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “We have to back up our ranking with good performances on the pitch and we can do that by doing well in the Suzuki Cup.”

The Thais, the defending champions in the Suzuki Cup, dropped to second, after going down 15 places to 135 with Vietnam six rungs lower at 141.

Singapore, which plays the Azkals on Nov. 19 to open the Suzuki Cup, is at 155, while another Group A team in Indonesia improved 10 places to 181, following a 3-0 win over Malaysia recently.

The Azkals are slated to face Bahrain on Oct. 7 at Philippine Sports Stadium as part of their Suzuki Cup buildup, before battling North Korea three days later. A home friendly against Kyrgyzstan is scheduled Nov. 9, also at PSS in a match that will serve as the Filipinos’ final tuneup before they plunge into action in the Suzuki Cup.

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TAGS: AFF Suzuki Cup, Azkals, Football, International Football Federation (FIFA)

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