The Philippine national football team dropped three spots down, 134 to 137, in the latest Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings released on Friday.
The Azkals suffered a heartbreaking 0-2 defeat against Bahrain in the latter’s home stadium in their second meeting in the Asian leg of the joint World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers last October 13.
Despite falling in the FIFA rankings, the Philippines is still the No.1 team in the Southeast Asian region and No.19 in the whole of Asia.
In last month’s FIFA rankings, the Philippines was at the 134th spot following a 1-5 loss to Uzbekistan during September’s FIFA international window.
The Azkals got their highest ever international rank in July after winning two games in the qualifiers; beating Bahrain, 2-1, at the Philippines Sports Stadium in Bulacan and defeating Yemen, 2-0, in Qatar.
The Philippines, which is housed in Group H of the tourney together with North Korea, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Yemen, is now No.3 in the group with two wins, a draw and a loss.
They are scheduled to face Yemen at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on November 12.
The Philippine Football Federation released the 23-man roster that will be part of the training pool for that upcoming game.
Because of accumulated yellow cards in the previous matches, team captain Phil Younghusband will miss the next game of the Azkals.
Central defender Luke Woodland, on the other hand, will also miss the game because of his playing commitment to his new fifth tier English club Chester FC. Simone Rota, Javier Patino and Juani Guirado are all set to suit up for the Azkals.
Meanwhile, Amani Aguinaldo, Misagh Bahadoran, Manny Ott, Stephan Palla, Kenshiro Daniels, Patrick Deyto, OJ Porteria, Neil Etheridge, Iain Ramsey, Rob Gier, Patrick Reichelt, Kevin Ingreso, Daisuke Sato, Stephan Schrock, Paul Mulders, Martin Steuble, Roland Muller and Dennis Villanueva were all called to be part of the Azkals team.
Azkals who based abroad are expected to arrive before November 9 to join the training camp, which already commenced this week and will continue until the day before the game.
The match against Yemen will be the Azkals’ last game in the World Cup circuit for this year. Their next game in the tilt will be against the Uzbeks in Tashkent on March 2016.