The Philippines v Malaysia international friendly is happening on the 22nd of March 2017.
Like Malaysia, the Azkals are also keeping themselves preoccupied with trainings and deliberating strategies on how to take on their opponents and clinch a win.
The international friendly against Malaysia is their first international match this year, followed by another friendly fixture against Nepal on the 28th of March 2017.
Philippines and Malaysia have not met since 2014, where they played two matches that ended in draws. However, the Azkals, led by Thomas Dooley, are not taking any chances or planning to go easy on Malaysia. They will be bringing down some of their best players, as well as introducing a couple of fresh, new talents in the international friendly.
Here’s a list of five players you should look out for this Wednesday:
Phil Younghusband is a striker who grew up playing for Chelsea and is currently with local club Loyola Meralco Sparks. Known for his goal-scoring prowess, he has scored 68 goals in 60 appearances with his club since 2011.
He is also captain of the Philippines national squad and capped for the team 85 times, scoring 43 goals in the run.
P.S. His free kicks are an absolute delight to watch!
Misagh Bahadoran is one of the key figures in the forward line for the Philippines. He scored his first international goal in 2015 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification round against Bahrain, and he has continued to play an important role up front.
Last year during the 2016 AFFSuzuki Cup, he was also the one who helped Philippines to get back into the lead as he tapped in a free kick by Stephan Schrock against Indonesia as they drew 2-2 at group stage.
He knows how to be at the right place at the right time, so Malaysia’s defence need to be wary of this guy!
This 25-year-old wonderkid signed for Global FC in 2015, where he went on to score 17 goals in 17 league games. As a result, he was bestowed the Golden Ball at the end of the season.
Those of you who remember watching him in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup probably didn’t know that he had just gotten his Philippines passport and immediately made his national debut. Known to be fast and furious on the flanks, defenders have to work extra hard when trying to thwart Minegishi.
Javier Patino Lachica plays for Chinese club Henan Jianye F.C. as a striker. In 2013, he scored twice in his debut AFC Cup qualification tournament, helping the Phillipines win 8-0 against Cambodia.
He also helped his country to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup as he scored the only and winning goal against Turkmenistan.
Overall, he has scored 3 goals in 10 national team caps. We don’t know for sure if he’s playing in the international friendly, but if he is, and he will be looking to secure as many goals as possible to make a comeback this Wednesday!
Kaya FC’s Antonio Ugarte, a descendant of legendary footballer Sebastian Ugarte, might also be making an appearance for Philippines v Malaysia this Wednesday.
Ugarte is a creative central midfielder who has also played professionally in Thailand for Pattani FC.
This kid has a huge expectation to live up to, not only because of his last name, but also because he’s known as a hardworking midfielder who gives puts everything he got into every game. A young and hungry player is always capable of posing major threats to his opponents!
Catch Philippines v Malaysia on Wednesday, March 22, 7:30 pm.