AS the Azkals come up with a fine start, team manager Dan Palami admitted there’s plenty of work ahead “and we need some luck along the way to make the next round.”
“But, as they say, anything’s possible,” he added.
Only four countries in Asia will qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2018 in Russia, but Azkals manager Dan Palami said the Philippine national football team’s chances are “promising.”
“It’s a tall order for us to make the third round, especially with our group that includes some very strong teams. But the team got off to a good start with two wins and the performance was also very satisfying, so it’s really promising,” Palami said.
The Philippine Team, described in a recent fifa.com article as “fast-progressing,” beat Bahrain for the first time, 2-1, at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan, last June 11 then trounced Yemen, 2-0, on the road last June 16. It will face tough Uzbekistan on Sept. 8 at the Philippine Sports Stadium.
Palami cited teams like South Korea, Japan and Australia and Middle East squads such as the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq as teams to beat in Asia.
From a field of over 200 countries, the ongoing qualifying process will reduce the competition to just 32 countries for the World Cup Finals.
“These Asian teams are always expected to figure prominently in the qualifiers,” said Palami.
The Philippine Azkals will face North Korea on Oct. 8 this year in its capital Pyongyang, one of three remaining games in the qualifying round scheduled to be played outside of Manila.
“We are not only winning but playing good football as well. It’s a team that the country can be proud of, which is what I always wanted to form,” said Palami.
Tickets for the Azkals’ game against Uzbekistan set at the Philippine Sports Stadium on September 8 are available at www.ticketworld.com.ph. Tickets are priced P531.80, P331.14 and P125.40.