MANILA – Host team Maldives will be 100% ready for its semi-final showdown against the Philippines in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup at the National Stadium in Male.
Maldives advanced to its first ever semi-final after a goalless draw with fellow qualifiers Palestine in their final match of the group stage.
"They reacted very well today," Maldives Coach Drago Mamic said of his players, as quoted by the AFC website. "I think they have recuperated to 75%, and now for these two games, they will be 100% ready."
The Azkals are the higher ranked squad, and will arguably have the momentum after a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory over twice runners-up Turkmenistan to wrap up their group campaign.
Yet Mamic said he never had any preference as to which team his squad will play in the semi-final – whether it be the Philippines or Afghanistan, the second-placed team in Group B.
"I never looked at who would be a better opponent to play against in the semi-final. For us, it is the same if it was Afghanistan or the Philippines," he said.
"I don't care much about the other teams, because in the semi-finals and final, there are only small differences between the teams. So you don't know how you can adapt from one team to another," he added.
"It is best to just look at your own team, and try to adjust your own team as best as possible."
The Philippines last played Maldives on April 16, 2009, losing 2-3.