Philippine Azkals manager Dan Palami expressed confidence that they can produce a better result than the 0-3 defeat they absorbed to Kuwait in the home leg of their second round World Cup Qualifying at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Thursday.
“I think it will be a better match for us,” said Palami during the PSA Forum yesterday at the Shakey’s U.N. Avenue in Manila.
Palami’s confidence stems from the return of skipper Aly Borromeo and midfielder Stephan Schrock, who sat out the first leg in Kuwait City because of suspension, and the fact that the Azkals will be playing at home.
The Azkals have not lost at home since 2006.
“We have a stronger lineup and I think we can compete with them in the midfield and in defense,” said Palami. “We hope the crowd will be a factor. Hopefully, it will intimidate the Kuwaitis and lift the spirits of our players.”
The Azkals manager hinted that there might be no change in approach for the Azkals, who were unlucky not to go ahead in the first half, before yielding two goals in the second half.
“We will stick to the game plan. We had a good first half against Kuwait even though we played defensive. When we got adventurous, that’s when they killed us,” Palami observed.
But Palami pointed out that there are still alot of positives from the loss to what he called an Asian powerhouse.
“Kuwait has been in the World Cup. They are really a strong team and competing with them is a testament on how the sport has developed here in the country,” he added in the same session presented by Smart, PAGCOR, Outlast Battery, Shakey’s.
The Azkals will also pin their hopes on leading international scorer Phil Younghusband and his strike partner Angel Guirado, midfielders Jason de Jong, Manny Ott, James Younghusband, defenders Rob Gier, Anton del Rosario and Rey Jonsson and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
The Azkals can also count on homegrown talents Chieffy Caligdong, Ian Araneta and Roel Gener. Published in Journal Online