THE missed chance to represent the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games won’t stop seven members of the Under-23 men’s football team from gaining much-needed international exposure.
Amani Aguinaldo, Marwin Angeles, Jeff Christiaens, Jason de Jong, Patrick Deyto, Mark Hartmann, and OJ Porteria, all members of the U-23 team that failed to get the green light for the upcoming SEA Games, have been called up for the men’s team when it faces United Arab Emirates on November 9.
The seven standouts are part of the provisional roster the Philippine Football Federation released on Thursday night for the Fifa (International Football Federation) international friendly against the 71st-ranked UAE at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The Azkals, now ranked a new all-time high of 137th in the world and coming off a successful title defense of the Philippine Peace Cup earlier this month, will still be led by skipper Chieffy Caligdong and James and Phil Younghsuband.
The other locally-based booters in the 20-man squad are Misagh Bahadoran, Jerry Barbaso, Chris Greatwich, Angel Guirado, and Ed Sacapaño.
Ray Jonsson makes a return to national duty and will be joined by fellow overseas-based Filipinos in Rob Gier, Juani Guirado, Jerry Lucena, and Patrick Reichelt.
Some changes are expected to be made in the lineup for the Azkals’ next friendly against India six days later.