THE Philippine Azkals are set to arrive in Dubai on Thursday night for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup which will open on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.
The Filipino booters are coming off a training camp in Doha before heading to Dubai where they will battle against the top teams in Asia.
The Azkals play their first match on Monday against South Korea in Group D play at the Al-Maktoum Stadium where the team is considered as the underdogs.
The national football team will also see action against China on January 11 at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, before returning to Dubai for a match against Kyrgyzstan on January 16 at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium.
The Azkals are fresh from their semifinal finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup where they went unbeaten in the preliminaries, before the Philippine side lost to Vietnam, 4-2, on aggregate in the semifinals.
This is the Azkals’ first-ever appearance on the Asian Cup stage. The Philippines though will be missing a key piece in Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who has been part of the national squad for a decade and was instrumental during the Asian Cup qualifiers.
The Asian Cup will unfurl on Saturday with host United Arab Emirates battling Bahrain in Abu Dhabi.