The Philippine men’s football team continued its rise to relevance in the sport on Wednesday as it moved four places up for its highest Fifa (International Football Federation) ranking ever at No. 143.
The Azkals’ two impressive results in their Middle East camp last October in preparation for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup this month aided their jump. They held Asian heavyweight Bahrain to a scoreless stalemate in Manama and gave World Cup qualifying tormentor Kuwait a tough challenge before bowing, 1-2.
After overtaking Thailand, which moved seven places down to 146th, the Azkals are now the second-best team in the Southeast Asian region behind Vietnam, which moved two places up to 138th.
The development should not be a surprise for Azkals manager Dan Palami, considering his goal at the end of the year is even greater.
“We hope to become number one in Southeast Asia by the end of the year,” he said a few weeks ago in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.