The Philippine national men’s football team will be playing without some of its key players in its upcoming friendly match against reigning Suzuki Cup champions Malaysia at the Stadium Shah Alam in Selangor on June 1.
Brothers Phil and James Younghusband had earlier begged off because of prior commitments, while goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will serve his one-game suspension due to his actions way back in the AFC Challenge Cup last March.
Expected to spearhead the Philippine booters are 2011 Long Teng Cup Golden Boot awardee Chieffy Caligdong, Fil-Spanish Angel Guirado and super-sub Ian Araneta, according to the official website of the Azkals.
Other players called up by Coach Hans Michael Weiss are Eduard Sacapano, Roland Mueller, Paul Mulders, Rob Gier, Jason Sabio, Juan Luis Guirado, Roxy Dorlas, Carli De Murga, Stephan Schrock, Manny Ott, Misagh Bahadoran, Patrick Reichelt, Marwin Angeles, Lexton Moy, Jason De Jong, Ian Araneta, Denis Wolf, Jeffrey Christiaens and OJ Clarino.
The Philippines-Malaysia clash serves as a rematch of their encounter last February that ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Azkals are coming off a runner-up finish in a four-team tournament in Bacolod, which is part of the team’s preparations for its upcoming FIFA international matches.
Aside from Malaysia, the Azkals will face Indonesia on June 5 and Guam on June 12 in matches that will affect the Philippines’ world ranking that currently sits at 148th.