The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has released the official list of players that will be part of the senior and under-23 (U23) Azkals team for the World Cup Qualifiers and the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).
Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley selected a total of 23 players for the upcoming qualifies for the 2018 World Cup in Russia while U23 head coach Marlon Maro named 20 players to be part of the team to be sent to SEA Games in Singapore.
The senior Azkals are grouped in Group H of the first round of the qualifiers in the Asian region together with Uzbekistan, Bahrain, North Korea and Yemen.
Leading the senior men’s football team is team skipper Rob Gier together with his Amani Aguinaldo, Misagh Bahadoran, Kenshiro Daniels, Juani Guirado, Mark Hartmann, Jerry Lucena, Manny Ott, Patrick Reichelt, Simone Rota, Daisuke Sato, Martin Steuble, Dennis Villanueva and Phil Younghusband.
Three goalkeepers have been tapped for the upcoming tournament with Neil Etheridge on the run to re-take his position as the first choice together with Patrick Deyto and Tomas Trigo.
Javier Patino, who plays for Henan Jianye FC in the Chinese Super League, and Stephan Schrock, from 2 Bundesliga team SpVgg Greuther Furth, are back after being away in the past few campaigns of the team.
Four new names will be part of the new team that will be fielded for the qualifying match against Bahrain at the Philippine Sports Stadium and versus Yemen in Doha, Qatar.
Fil-Austrian left-back Stephan Palla, who plays for Wolfsberger AC in the Austrian Football Bundesliga, will be providing reinforcement for the back-line of the Azkals.
Thomas Dooley’s midfield will be packed with the addition of new recruits Fil-Australian Iain Ramsey, VfR Neumunster’s Kevin Ingreso and Luke Woodland, who is on loan to Oldham Athletic from the Bolton Wanderers.
Meanwhile, college players and young United Football League standouts will banner the U23 men’s national football team in 28th SEA Games.
Ronnie Aguisanda, Nathaniel Alquiros, Arnel Amita, Fitch Arboleda, Jun Badelic, Mark Besana, Paolo Bugas, Jaime Cheng, Julian Clarino, Dominica Del Rosario, Neil Dorimon, Shirmar Felongco, Daniel Gadia, Paolo Salenga, Francisco Santos, Connor Tacagni, Richard Talaroc, Kennedy Uzoka, Jinggoy Valmayor and Ace Villanueva all made the cut to represent the country in the regional sports meet.
College of Saint Benilde’s coach Marlon Maro will be taking over the helm of the team from previous mentor Australian football legend Jim Fraser.
The U23 Azkals are part of Group A of the first round of the elimination in the football tournament of the SEA Games together with Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and host Singapore.