THE Philippine men’s football team will have one less thing to worry about against Singapore in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup semifinals as Lions starting right winger Shi Jiayi has become unavailable for the first leg at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
According to a report on the tournament’s official website on Wednesday, the 29-year-old Shanghai-born naturalized Singaporean midfielder will miss the tie due to a “family emergency” in his hometown.
Shi started in midfield in the Lions' three group-stage games in Kuala Lumpur, although he was converted into a “makeshift defender” at some point during games.
However, the Lions are expected to have striker Fazrul Nawaz, one of the scorers in the team’s come-from-behind 4-3 win over Laos last Saturday that catapulted Singapore to the top of Group B. Nawaz suffered an injury in the game but has been declared fit for Saturday's match.
Defender Shaiful Esah is also set to return to the lineup after being sidelined against Indonesia with an ankle sprain.
The Lions are set to arrive in the country on Thursday.