Asian Cup vets, youngsters banner PH Azkals 23-man squad
A handful of Asian Cup veterans and a slew of returning standouts make up the core of the Philippines’ 23-man squad that will take on Syria on Thursday at the start of World Cup Qualifying at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Captain Stephan Schrock of Philippines Football League champion Ceres Negros will lead the Azkals as they begin their quest for a place in football’s showpiece event in 2022 in Qatar.
Players who saw action in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates early this year form the majority of the squad of coach Scott Cooper.
They include Schrock, Javier Patiño, Patrick Reichelt, Daisuke Sato, Amani Aguinaldo, Alvaro Silva, Manny Ott, Mike Ott, Patrick Strauss, Kevin Ingreso, Mike Ott, Carlie De Murga, Michael Fakesgaard and Kevin Hansen.
Putting emphasis on the players’ current form, Cooper also recalled several standouts who were left out in the past few tournaments and training camps.
Defender Martin Steuble, who missed out on a spot in the Asian Cup, but has made an impact for Port FC in the Thai Premier League, earned another selection. Thailand-based Mark Hartmann, Marco Casambre and Angel Guirado were also recalled, along with Ceres players Sean Kane and OJ Porteria.
Goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, who has impressed at Suphanburi even after a hand surgery sidelined him early this year, is also back in the squad. Out due to injury in the two previous camps in Thailand and China, Manny Ott also made the grade.
But the most intriguing names in the list are teenagers Justin Baas and Yrik Galantes, who are based in the Netherlands and Scotland, respectively.
Baas is a 19-year-old centerback currently attached with AZ Alkmaar’s Under-21 side, while Galantes is a promising attacking midfielder loaned by Scottish side Hibernian to Gala Fairydean Rovers.
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