PFF to reassess future of Azkals program after underwhelming AFF stint
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Football Federation vowed to re-evaluate the future of the Azkals program following a disappointing campaign in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup.
PFF president Nonong Araneta acknowledged the need to atone for the AFF woes in a statement released a day after the Azkals ended their stint with a 2-1 loss to Indonesia at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“I would like to thank the players and staff for their hardwork and sacrifice representing the country in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup even during the holiday season,” Araneta said.
“The Azkals may have fallen short of making the semifinals, but we saw some positives as we were able to give opportunities to younger players which bodes well for the future of the team. We will prepare the team better in the next cycle of World Cup and Asian Cup Qualifying. For now we will use the break to reassess and plan for the future,” he added.
Ultras Filipinas has put up a sign in protest over the Azkals’ struggles in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) January 2, 2023
No further details were made, but the mentioned joint qualifiers won’t begin until October.
The Azkals finished just fourth in Group A with three points, losing three matches while winning just once at the expense of lowly Brunei.
Coached by Josep Ferre, the Azkals opted to inject local-based players including youngsters, a far cry from having veteran-laced squads in recent competitions.
Team captain Stephan Schrock, who played his final match for the national side, was the eldest man on the roster at 36.