Phil Younghusband to join Azkals vs Pakistan
MANILA – Philippine Azkals striker Phil Younghusband is set to re-join the football team in its crucial match against Pakistan in the 2013 Philippine Football Peace Cup in Bacolod on Tuesday night.
ABS-CBNnews.com learned that Younghusband was among the eight Azkals player who suffered from gastric irritation because of something they ate, along with Jason De Jong and Juani Guirado.
But in a report from Bacolod on Tuesday afternoon, ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo reported that the football players are now okay from that episode, as well as this morning’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook the neighboring provinces of Bohol and Cebu.
Younghusband missed last Friday’s opening match against Chinese Taipei due to an injury.
The Azkals are hoping to bounce back and beat Pakistan tonight.
The Azkals, who won last year's tournament, suffered a stunning 2-1 loss at the hands of Chinese Taipei in the tournament opener at the Panaad Stadium last Friday.
The hosts though got a big boost last Sunday as Pakistan defeated the Chinese Taipei, 1-0, making it possible for the Azkals to still repeat as champions.
Pakistan, which is ranked 170th by FIFA, is no pushover as the team is bannered by eight players who suited up for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) FC, which blanked the UFL's Global FC, 2-0, in the AFC Presidents Cup in Cebu last May.
Their captain Zeshan Rehman, who scored the winning goal against Chinese Taipei, is also a seasoned veteran, having once seen action for 20 matches in the English Premier League for Fulham, which is the present club of Azkals' first choice keeper Neil Etheridge.
Pakistan and the Philippines have never met in a FIFA-sanctioned match.
Castillejo, quoting Azkals coach Michael Weiss, said the Azkals are more “more positive” now and are hoping to play “more cohesive” football against Pakistan.
The match will air live on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on Studio 23. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.