Jesus Melliza and Sean Patrick Kane are set to play their debut game for the national football team while Daisuke Sato and Curt Dizon make their return when the Philippine Azkals battle Yemen for the second time in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers on October 10 at the Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Head coach Thomas Dooley called up Stallion Laguna FC striker Melliza and JPV Marikina FC defender Kane for the first time as both are showing quality performance in the top flight Philippines Football League.
AC Horsens left back Sato returns to national duty after serving his suspension, which was due to accumulated yellow cards, while FC Meralco Manila winger Curt Dizon suits up anew for the Azkals after a short stint in 2014.
The four booters are expected to fill the absence of injured players Javier Patiño, Misagh Bahadoran, Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland.
Still included in the roster are longtime national squad stalwarts Phil and James Younghusband of Davao Aguilas FC together with Dylan De Bruycker, Simone Rotan and Nicholas O’Donnell from the same club, Carli De Murga, Junior Muñoz, Kevin Ingreso, Manuel Ott and Iaian Ramsay of Ceres Negros FC, and Patrick Deyto, Dominic Del Rosario, Hikaru Minegishi, Paul Mulders and Dennis Villanueva of Global Cebu FC.
Cardiff City FC goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will banner the players from overseas composed of Mike Rigoberto Ott of Angthong United, Harry Föll of FC Hansa Rostock and Stephen Palla of Wolfsberger FC.
In the first meeting of the two countries in the qualification phase of the quadrennial tournament, the Younghusband brothers fired one goal apiece as the Philippines remained unbeaten after a 2-2 draw with Yemen last September 5 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Filipino booters, who have seven points on a 2-1-0 win-draw-loss record, lead Yemen (five points), Tajikistan (three points) and Nepal (one point) in the four-team Group F.