A scheduling conflict has once again derailed Phil and James Younghusbands’ return to the national team.
The Philippine Football Federation has decided to delist the Filipino-British brothers from the country’s international friendly against Bahrain on Friday in Manama because they could not make it to at least two training sessions deemed necessary to prepare them for the match.
PFF head of communications Ebong Joson confirmed the news to SPIN.PH on Thursday, saying the federation wanted the Younghusbands to leave for Bahrain on Tuesday, but the brothers asked to reschedule the flight to Wednesday night as they had to attend to a previous “engagement.”
Most of the members of the team left for Bahrain on Sunday, but the Younghusbands, Ref Cuaresma, and Anto Gonzales were not able to make the flight as they were still with their pro club Loyola Meralco Sparks wrapping up their Singapore Cup campaign.
PFF arranged for the later flight on Tuesday, which Cuaresma and Gonzales made.
A source close to the Younghusbands said on Thursday the brothers could not turn down an off-pitch commitment made prior to their call-up last week.
“They committed to an engagement before they were called up,” said the source, who requested not to be named.
The PFF has now instructed the brothers to go straight to Kuwait on Friday to rejoin the Azkals for the second friendly in its ongoing 10-day Middle East Tour. Kuwait and the Philippines battle on Oct. 16.
But even without the prolific brothers, the 147th-ranked Filipino booters remain upbeat as they face their Bahraini counterparts, who are placed 32 spots ahead.
European-based defenders Dennis Cagara, Rob Gier, Juani Guirado, Ray Jonsson, and Jerry Lucena; striker Paul Mulders; and keeper Roland Muller are among the Azkals' returning for national duty.