It would be ‘disappointment’ if PH Azkals fail to reach Suzuki Cup Finals
With a new format that requires teams to play home and away games in the group stage, Philippines captain Phil Younghusband sees the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup as the most challenging yet for the Azkals, who are aiming to atone for a disappointing campaign two years ago when they failed to advance to the knockout round.
One game shy of 100 appearances for the Philippines, Younghusband, however, insists that anything less than a finals spot for the Azkals will be a disappointment particularly with the depth and quality in the squad.
“We should be going further than the semifinals,” said Younghusband, who also has 51 goals for the country. “Anything less will be a disappointment.”
The Azkals start their campaign on Tuesday against Singapore at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Lions, who held the Azkals to a goalless draw in the 2016 tournament in Bulacan, were slated to face Indonesia at the start of Group B matches late Friday night.
Younghusband believes the new format will make it tougher for teams to go all the way in the competition ruled by Thailand in 2014 and 2016: “There’s going to be a lot of traveling and we will be away from our families so recovery will be important.”
With new coach Sven-Goran Eriksson at the helm with the help of consultant Scott Cooper, the Azkals are looking to carry their fine form in the competition as they are unbeaten in their last seven matches, including a couple of stalemates against Middle East powerhouses Bahrain and Oman.
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