THE Philippine men’s football team hopes to get a favorable draw in the 2012 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in Thailand and Malaysia this November.
With two groups forming the premier football tournament among Southeast Asian nations, skipper Aly Borromeo hopes the Azkals will be bracketed against countries they can easily match up.
“Maybe the likes of Indonesia and Malaysia will suit our style of play. We usually do well against them,” the defender said. “Myanmar and Singapore too, physically we’re up to their level.”
The Azkals settled for draws against Malaysia (0-0) and Indonesia (2-2) in their friendlies last month.
Unlike the previous edition when the Azkals had to go through qualifying to reach the tournament proper, this time the popular team made it to the group stage outright after a first-ever semifinal appearance in 2010.
The 2010 Suzuki Cup is best remembered as the tournament that propelled the Azkals to prominence. Before their historic semifinal stint, the team posted one of football's biggest upsets when it blanked powerhouse Vietnam, 2-0, in the elimination round.
“The Suzuki Cup is special for us because this is where it all began,” Borromeo said. “We’re now seeded and expectations are a little higher this time around, but we’re up for it. We want to show the country what we can do.”
The draw will be on July 11 at the Azkals Sports Bar at The Fort in Taguig.
Going to this year's group stage, the seeding is as follows -- Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Philippines.
Two other teams from among Myanmar , Laos, Cambodia, Timor Leste, and Brunei will also make it to the group stage after the qualifying tournament from October 5 to 13 in Myanmar.
Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta had more or less the same wish list as Borromeo.
“Based on the rankings, I’d rather be with Singapore, host Malaysia, and any team between the two qualifiers,” he said.