Azkals need to fix their de­fense ver­sus Ye­men

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Prime Sports - BY JACK BIANTAN

WITH­OUT the old re­li­ables Rob Gier, Guani Guirado and Amani Aguinaldo man­ning the back line, the Philip­pine Azkals will go up against Ye­men on Oct. 10 with a big hole in the mid­dle that has al­lowed six goals since the 2019 Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (AFC) Asian Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion third round started in March this year.

The away match against Ye­men will be held at the Saoud Bin Ab­dul­rah­man Sta­dium in Doha, Qatar as Ye­men is still rav­aged by a civil war.

The pil­lars of the Azkals de­fense for many years, Gier and Guirado have re­tired and have been missed. Aguinaldo, the young­ster

who has been solid at the back has in­jured a knee and there is a big ques­tion mark on when is he com­ing back.

Car­los De­murga of Ceres Ne­gros FC, Stephen Palla Wolfs­berger AC, Den­nis Vil­lanueva of Global Cebu FC, and Jim Ju­nior Munoz of Global Cebu FC sur­ren­dered two goals against Ye­men in their first en­counter at the Panaad sta­dium in Ba­colod last Sept. 4.

The were out ran, and out ma­neu­vered by the Ye­meni de­fender Mudir Al-Radael, and striker Ab­dil­wasea Al Matari be­fore the Younghus­band broth­ers Phil and James scored one goal each to sal­vage a point for the Azkals.

The October 10 match will also see the re­turn of left de­fender and spark plug Daisuke Sato of AC Hors­ens FC from sus­pen­sion. His re­turn will be a great boost for the Azkals ail­ing de­fense.

But what re­ally make fans ex­cited is the call up of Philip­pines Foot­ball League (PFL) lead­ing lo­cal scorer Je­sus Jo­quin Mel­liza. The for­mer Far East­ern Univer­sity striker has al­ready scored 13 goals, just two goals shy of top scorer Gha­nian Jor­dan Min­tah of Kaya FC.

He will be a big boost up front as the Azkals will be miss­ing Mis­agh Ba­ho­daran who will be side­lined af­ter break­ing his clav­i­cle bone in a match with Global Cebu FC in the PFL.

Also re­called to add more fire­power up front is the young Manila Mer­alco striker Curt Di­zon. Di­zon, who was raised by his Filipino par­ents Cris and Joy Di­zon in Lon­don, is al­ready in the his­tory books of the PFL hav­ing scored the first goal of the league. He scored in the 9th minute of the first ever match of the PFL for Mer­alco against Stal­lion Laguna FC in Bi­nan, Laguna last May 6.

Adding more in­ter­est for the Filipino fans is the call up of Filipino Ger­man Harry Foll who plays mid­field for 3rd di­vi­sion Ger­man Club Hansa Ro­s­tock. He was raised in Ger­many by his Filipino mother and Ger­man fa­ther.

Hansa Ro­s­tock is based on the city of of Ro­s­tock, Mecklenburg-Vor­pom­mern in the East­ern part of Ger­many. It used to be one of the most suc­cess­ful club in the old East Ger­many and made some ap­pear­ances in the Budesliga. They have been on a steady de­cline and they have been play­ing in the 3rd di­vi­sion for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year now. AZKALS line-up for Oct. 1o vs Ye­men

Dy­lan DE BRUYCKER – Davao Aguilas FC winger/striker, Car­los DE MURGA – Ceres Ne­gros FC RB/CB, Do­minic DEL ROSARIO – Global Cebu FC LB/LM, Pa­trick DEYTO – Global Cebu FC GK, Curt DI­ZON – FC Mer­alco Manila LW/STR, Neil ETHERIDGE – Cardiff City FC GK, Harry FÖLL – FC Hansa Ro­s­tock RM/CM, Kevin INGRESO – Ceres Ne­gros FC CM/DM, Sean Pa­trick KANE – JPV Marik­ina FC RB RB, Je­sus Joaquin MEL­LIZA – Stal­lion Laguna FC STR, Hikaru MINEGISHI – Global Cebu FC RW LW, Paul MULDERS – Global Cebu FC CM, Jim Ju­nior MUÑOZ – Ceres Ne­gros FC RB, Nicholas O’DON­NELL – Davao Aguilas FC GK, Manuel OTT – Ceres Ne­gros FC CM, Mike Rigob­erto OTT – Angth­ong United CM ST, Stephan PALLA – Wolfs­berger AC LB, Iain RAM­SAY – Ceres Ne­gros FC LW, Simone ROTA – Davao Aguilas FC RB, Daisuke SATO – AC Hors­ens LB, Den­nis VIL­LANUEVA – Global Cebu FC DM CB, James YOUNGHUS­BAND – Davao Aguilas FC RW CM, Phil YOUNGHUS­BAND – Davao Aguilas FC LW ST, Head coach Thomas Doo­ley will be as­sisted by coach Kurt Kowarz. (l.biantan@gmail.com)

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