The Philippine national men’s football team is hoping for a favorable draw for the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup next week.
Due to their semifinal finish two years ago, the Azkals automatically own a spot in the biennial event.
Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo said that he would want the Philippines drawn with Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore in the group stages of the tournament.
“Basically we’re at their level so we can match up with them,” Borromeo said during a press conference at the Philippine Football Federation office Friday.
But whatever happens in the draw on July 11 in Bangkok, Thailand, Borromeo said the Azkals are ready to slug it out against the best teams in the tournament.
“Of course, we’re confident,” Borromeo said, adding that the team would adopt a different strategy this time. “We can say that in the last tournament, we are not strong as our squad today so we might play a different kind of game.”
Then under British coach Simon McMenemy, the Azkals employed a defensive strategy against their opponents, relying on counterattacks on offense. With a more formidable lineup under German coach Hans Michael Weiss, the Azkals are expected to step up their attack to get more chances at the goal.
PFF president Mariano Araneta, meanwhile, said that the Azkals are now gearing up for their training camps ahead of the tournament. Aside from their camp in the United States this August, the Philippine team will also play friendly matches against Indonesia and Vietnam in September. Another training camp is scheduled in October, which could take place either in the Middle East or Japan.
“We will do everything to prepare the team,” Araneta said.
The Azkals made a Cinderella run to the semifinals in the 2010 edition of the tournament, a first time in team history. They lost to Indonesia on aggregate, 2-0, in the final four. Malaysia went on to clinch the title.
The 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup is slated on Nov. 24 to Dec. 22 and is co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand.