Azkals unveil 26-man pool for WCQ November window

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

November 8, 2023, 6:05 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has announced a 26-man pool that will play in the November window for the second round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The PFF revealed on Wednesday that goalkeepers Neil Etheridge, Kevin Hansen, and Patrick Deyto, defenders Simone Rota, Carlie De Murga, Jeff Tabinas, Christian Rontini, Jesse Curran, Daisuke Sato, and Santi Rublico, midfielders Dennis Villanueva, Simen Lyngbo, Cholo Bugas, OJ Porteria, Manny and Mike Ott, Oskari Kekkonen, Kevin Ingreso, and Justin Baas, and forwards Patrick Reichelt, Bienve Maranon, Audie Menzi, Marwin Angeles, Jhan-Jhan Melliza, Kenshiro Daniels, and Stephan Schrock make up the training pool.

“It’s a good mixture of experienced mainstays for a long time and young well-developing talents brought on by the recent performances of Philippine clubs in AFC competitions,” coach Michael Weiss explained the composition.

“It gives us reason to be optimistic for our first World Cup qualifier matches against Vietnam and Indonesia,” he added.

The national team, popularly known as the Azkals, first plays Vietnam on Nov. 16 before battling Indonesia on Nov. 21.

Both matches will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

As part of a drive to attract more fans at the venue, the PFF launched the "10K Strong" campaign where it hopes that at least 10,000 fans will flock to the stadium for the matches.

“A very important factor is the enthusiasm and support of the 12th man,” Weiss said. “We hope the fans come in numbers to the stadium and be part of history.” (PNA)