• Azkals brace for overseas friendlies ahead of Suzuki Cup

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    The Philippine Azkals are scheduled to play a series of tune-up matches abroad as part of their preparation for the upcoming Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup later this year.

    “The tentative schedule that we have is a game in September 2 or 3 against North Korea in China just before we fly to Kyrgyzstan, where we play them,” said team manager Dan Palami.

    Palami also added that besides playing against fellow Asian teams, the Azkals would have a couple of games against Canada and Costa Rica.

    “On October, we have confirmed our participation in a friendly that would be played in Spain. We would play most probably against Canada and Costa Rica,” he said.

    Palami is hoping that players will be released by their respective clubs before the friendlies to give them enough time to train.

    “Hopefully, we have all the players together after the UFL to give us enough time to get them to where we want them to be in terms of cohesion. I would not be worried about fitness this time,” he said.

    During the recent international break last June, the Azkals were unable to book matches and were left idle since their game against North Korea in March.

    “Its not easy to find friendlies. It has to be scheduled ahead and of course; the coach prefers to play teams that are above us in rankings. Unfortunately, the friendlies are not scheduled by the team but by the federation,” Palami explained.

    Unable to arrange friendlies, the Philippines dropped in FIFA international rankings from its highest ever mark of No. 115 in May to No. 135 this month.

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