The Philippine Men’s National Team campaigns in both the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 and AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 are now set following the conclusion of the draw ceremonies held last week.
In the Asian Cup, the Philippines will face Korea Republic, China PR, and Kyrgyz Republic in Group C. The team will make their Asian Cup debut against Korea Republic on 7 January 2019 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai . They next face China PR on 11 January at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The last match of the group stage will be against Kyrgyz Republic on 16 January at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai.
The draw was made last 4 May 2018 at the Armani Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The 24 AFC Member Association teams were divided into 6 groups of 4 teams. The top 2 teams in the group, along with the 4 best third-placed teams will advance to the knockout stages.
This is the country’s first appearance in Asia’s premier competition. The Philippines secured qualification to the final round last 27 March 2018 with a 2-1 win over Tajikistan at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to win Group F with 12 points.
“We dreamt that one day we will have a team in the AFC Asian Cup, and now it has become a reality. We are thrilled that the Philippine Men’s National Team will be participating in Asia’s most prestigious tournament for the very first time. The group of Korea Republic, China PR, and Kyrgyz Republic will be a challenging task for the team, but as we have witnessed every time the players take it to the field, our players will fight hard.” said PFF president Mariano V. Araneta Jr.
“It’s a good draw for a debutant team like the Philippines in the AFC Asian Cup. It’s the toughest tournament in Asia. We have to prepare well for the teams we are going to face. We played against China PR before and did not get a good result, but we know how to prepare for them. Korea Republic will always be a tough nut to crack. We played against Kyrgyz Republic in the past and I am sure they will prepare as well. Hopefully we get a good preparation that’s all we need to do and we’ll leave no stone unturned,” said Philippines Team Manager Dan Palami, who was in Dubai for the draw along with captain Philip Younghusband.
“We were excited to qualify and I am excited with the group we are in. It will be a difficult challenge but this is part of our development and is very exciting for Philippines football,” said Younghusband, the Philippines’ top goalscorer with 50 international goals.
In the AFF Suzuki Cup, The Philippines are participating in Southeast Asia’s showpiece event for the 11th time this year, and are looking for redemption after missing out on a knockout spot two years ago. Joining the Philippines in Group B are defending champions and 5-time winners Thailand, 5-time runners up Indonesia, 4-time winners Singapore, and the winner of the Qualifying Round between Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste.
The AFF Suzuki Cup draw was made last Wednesday 2 May 2018 at the Hotel Mulia Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia. The tournament, which previously had two countries hosting the group stages, will have a new tournament format starting this year. Each country will play 2 matches at home and 2 matches away.
For the AFF Suzuki Cup home matches, the Philippine Football Federation has nominated the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental as the primary venue for the Suzuki Cup with the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila as the alternate venue.
The Philippines open their Suzuki Cup journey against Singapore at home on 13 November followed by away match on 17 November against the Qualifying Round winner. Thailand will be the next opponent at home on 21 November with a match away against Indonesia on 25 November as the last match of the group stages.
“The AFF Suzuki Cup serves as a perfect opportunity for the team in anticipation for the AFC Asian Cup. The different tournament format will be a challenge not only for the Philippines but also for the rest of the participating teams in the tournament,” added Araneta.
AFF Suzuki Cup Group – B Fixtures
13 November 2018 – Match No. 8 – Home Match
Philippines vs Singapore
17 November 2018 – Match No. 11 – Away Match
Timor Leste OR Brunei vs Philippines
21 November 2018 – Match No. 15 – Home Match
Philippines vs Thailand
25 November 2018 – Match No. 20 – Away Match
Indonesia vs Philippines
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 – Group C Fixtures
7 January 2019 – Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Korea Republic vs Philippines
11 January 2019 – Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Philippines vs China PR
16 January 2019 – Rashid Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Kyrgyz Republic vs Philippines