Team manager Dan Palami remains optimistic despite the Philippine Azkals 01-defeat to Yemen, in the joint 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifier at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium late Thursday evening. Yemeni Ahmed Al-Sarori scored the only goal of the contest in the 83rd minute.
“I would like to say sorry to the Filipino people for this loss but our goal is still there and that is to play in the Asian Cup. We have time to reflect about what needs to be done,” Palami told the members of the press after the game.
With the loss, the Azkals’ win-draw-loss record dropped to 2-1-3. The Philippines must win their next two games to secure a better standing at the end of the group phase.
Palami added that they would rethink their strategies during the team’s three-month break before their next two matches in March of next year.
“We just have to find a solution in finding that cohesion amongst the players. As I said, if you don’t convert and don’t score on your chances, then there’s no way you can win the game.”
“It will be a very long three months of looking at ourselves and looking at the team and seeing what exactly needs to be done considering the limitations in training,” he said.
Palami said that the training of local and foreign-based Azkals will be a concern but reiterated that they would just have to make the best of the limited time they have.
“I don’t even want to dwell how we should be playing or what we can do in the preparations because the preparations for the national team are always not ideal.”
After their impressive start in the tournament, defeating Bahrain and Yemen in June, the Azklas displayed sluggish form in their next games.
The Philippines suffered their first heartbreaking defeat in the continental qualifiers during a home game at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan losing to Uzbekistan, 1-5.
In their two matches overseas, the Azkals elicited a 0-0 draw from the North Koreans in Pyongyang before being beaten by Bahrain, 0-2, in Riffa.