Midfielder Anton Del Rosario expressed confidence that the Azkals would win against Taiwan in the opening day of the Philippine Peace Cup at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium today. The Azkals are the tourney’s defending champions.
Del Rosario, a veteran Azkal who joined the team 11 years ago, is expecting his younger teammates to play tougher and enter the finals set on September 6.
“I’m confident we can make it to the finals and retain the title,” said Del Rosario in a phone interview. “We prepared hard for this tournament and we’re not going to take Taiwan lightly because they are also a competitive squad.”
The Azkals vs. Taiwan game is set at 7 p.m. after the Myanmar-Palestine match at 4 p.m.
“The team looks very good. I talked to the players and I really appreciate their comment. I’m also glad that we have strong teams to play against to see where we are at,” Azkals’ head coach American Thomas Dooley told reporters during the meet’s press conference.
Besides Del Rosario, leading the Azkals’ campaign are brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Rob Gier, Chris Greatwich, Nate Burkey, Misagh Bahadoran, Patrick Reichelt, Simone Rota, Patrick Deyto, Carli De Murga and Mark Hartmann, among others.
The Azkals are coming off an impressive first runner-up finish in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in May in Maldives, where they lost to defending champion Palestine in the finals.