Football

Suzuki Cup: Rizal Memorial pitch an edge for Azkals against Thailand, says manager

InterAksyon.com/Bernard Testa

InterAksyon.com/Bernard Testa

With the Philippine national men’s football team facing tormentor Thailand in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals, the Azkals will be needing all the help they could get to finally overcome the squad they haven’t beaten for more than 40 years.

The Azkals will be playing the home leg of their semifinals series at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, and team manager Dan Palami hopes that the venue’s artificial pitch could work as an edge — even just little — for the squad.

“The thing is Thailand isnít really keen on playing on artificial pitch. Maybe thatís a good thing for us,” he said. “Some of the players of our team play on that turf for the most time of the year, so maybe the littlest of the advantage we can get is good for us.”

Palami said he prefers the match to be played at the newly built Philippine Stadium, but the short one-week preparation doomed the chances of having it there.

“Personally, I would like to play in a 25,000-seater stadium with 25,000 people in attendance,” he said. “But with all the logistical requirements of a home game, with all the permits we have to get, we have to settle for Rizal for now.

“Hopefully when we get to the finals, we could talk about the Philippine Stadium.”

Palami is also hoping for a strong home crowd, encouraging fans to wear white in support of the Azkals.

“One of the not so small factor will be the crowd support, so we really invite all… Fan or not, if you’re a Filipino, you should support our national team. Be there in Rizal, wear white, and show the Filipino fans can also be a factor,” he said.

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