The stakes could not get any higher for the Philippine Men's National Team ahead of their crucial AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match against Nepal today at the ANFA Complex in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A win will deliver the country to its first-ever Asian Cup Finals after narrowly missing out on a place in Australia 2015.
The Azkals arrived in Kathmandu last Wednesday and have been in intense training for the past few days leading up to the match.
Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley was fairly impressed with how the players have trained despite the high altitude.
“Preparations are going very well,” said Dooley. “I was a little bit surprised with how the players handled the difference in the altitude well, but we will see in the game.”
The Azkals mentor understood the risks going to the match as several regulars such as Amani Aguinaldo, Manny Ott, and Javier Patiño out for the match due to injuries. Still, Dooley is adamant that the 23 players he called up for the match can accomplish the task.
“We have to win the game and that's the bottom line,” added Dooley. “The confidence I have in the players is that individually they are unique and if they put together their 100 percent on the field, then we have a big chance to win the game.”
Goalkeeping coach Stefano Marsella also gave his view on the preparations for the match.
“The three goalkeepers work together, they all know what's about, what's at stake, but they're also playing and training because they know what's coming up as well,” said Marsella. “Their attitude has been spot on during training.”*pff.org
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