Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley said in a press conference that the group his wards landed on for the joint 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup is the “most difficult.”
“In my opinion, we’re in the most difficult group to play against,” Dooley said during the launch of the new Azkals kits.
During the recent draw for the qualifiers, the Philippines, ranked 137 in the world, fell into Group H together with Uzbekistan, Bahrain, North Korea and Yemen.
Dooley, the former captain of the United States men’s national football team, added that he is particularly wary of world number 168 Yemen and 156-ranked North Korea.
“My biggest concern is Yemen and North Korea because we don’t know where they are,” he stated.
On the other hand, Dooley stressed that despite the challenge they would face in the group, he is confident with the chances of the “new” Azkals.
“With the new team that we have here, I am confident that we can get great results.”
The team, who will be seeing the return of Stephan Schrock and Javier Patiño, will also banner four new players Luke Woodland, Stephan Palla, Kevin Ingreso and Iain Ramsey in the upcoming qualifiers.
“The group that we have, I hear, is that, this is the strongest group ever. Obviously, I hope so,” Dooley said.