THE Philippine men’s football team is hoping to arrange one more friendly with a higher-ranked opponent before plunging into action in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Group E Qualifiers later this month.
Local football officials refused to reveal which country the Azkals are hoping to play against and the venue is still also uncertain, although the friendly has been set for March 17.
Philippine Football Federation secretary-general Ed Gastanes said the team is “far higher in ranking” than the 147th-ranked Azkals, who have had a shortage of tune-up games this year.
“An ideal situation is one more match. We have one match being worked on but it’s not yet closed. We’re hoping in the next day or two, it will be clearer,” Gastanes said on Thursday during the official press conference for the Challenge Cup qualifiers set from March 22 to 26 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Adding to the uncertainty of the proposed friendly is the unavailability of Rizal in Manila, Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, and the Cebu City Sports Complex due to various reasons.
Gastanes said the parties are now discussing either Hong Kong or Macau as possible venue for the friendly.
“But there is nothing certain about it. We are crossing our fingers,” Gastanes said, adding the Azkals, grouped with Turkmenistan, Cambodia, and Brunei in the qualifiers, would have to make do with their own training camp if plans miscarry.