THE Philippine men’s football team will have two returnees and one new face in a 23-man preliminary squad that will train for the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers against Uzbekistan on September 8.
Azkals coach Thomas Dooley has tapped familiar faces Roland Muller and midfielder Paul Mulders, while 23-under standout Jun Badelic earned his first senior call-up.
The three booters replaced injured Rob Gier, Mark Hartmann, and Tomas Trigo.
Hartmann’s exclusion came after the Global FC striker registered a hat-trick for his squad in a 4-1 quarterfinal win over Geylang International FC that propelled the two-time United Football League champion to the semifinals of the Singapore Cup.
The 124th-ranked Azkals are surprisingly on top of Group H, sharing it with North Korea after going unbeaten in their first two matches against Bahrain and Yemen.
As part of their preparations, the Azkals will host AFC Challenge Cup rival Maldives in a friendly on September 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.