Neil Etheridge is set to return to the Philippines as the goalkeeper suits up for the national football team’s home game against Yemen in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualifying stage on September 5 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Cardiff City FC goalkeeper will be manning the posts alongside Patrick Deyto of Global Cebu FC and Nicholas O’Donnel of Davao Aguilas FC.
For reasons of securing his career in the English league’s second division, Etheridge begged off in the national squad’s away match against Tajikistan, which it won with a 4-3 decision last June 14 at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe.
However, the Philippine Azkals roster has already suffered with the absence of Daisuke Sato (suspended due to accumulated cards), Amani Aguinaldo and Javier Patiño (both injured).
Head coach Thomas Dooley called up two new players in Tyler Matas of FC Meralco Manila and Harry Föll of FC Hansa Rostock.
Also tapped to play for the Azkal’s third game in AFC’s second-tier tournament are two booters from the national Under-22 team in Dylan De Bruycker (Davao Aguilas) and Joshua Grommen (Ceres Negros FC).
Still included in the lineup are Phil and James Younghusband, and Simone Rota of Davao Aguilas, Carli De Murga, Junior Muñoz, Manny Ott, Iain Ramsay, Patrick Reichelt and Luke Woodland of Ceres Negros, and Misagh Bahadoran, Hikaru Minegishi, Paul Mulders, and Dennis Villanueva of Global Cebu.
Mike Ott of Angthong United FC and Stephan Palla of Wolfsberger FC round up the 23-man roster.
Kurt Kowarz and Chieffy Caligdong will be assisting Dooley in coaching duties.