The Philippine Men’s National Team arrived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates Thursday 3 January 2019 as the build-up to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 reaches fever pitch.
As one of the 24 teams taking part in Asia’s showpiece tournament, which begins this Saturday 5 January 2019, the Azkals aim to write a new chapter in Philippine football as they battle the best teams in Asia.
The Philippines kick off their Asian Cup campaign in Group C against inaugural Asian Cup winners Korea Republic on 7 January at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, followed by China PR on 11 January at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and the last match against Kyrgyz Republic on 16 January at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai.
“Our journey to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup is a dream realized,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. “The team’s participation in this tournament is testament to the massive strides the Philippine football community has done in recent years.”
Leading to the tournament, the Philippines made their fourth semifinal appearance in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.
The team recently regrouped in Doha, Qatar for a training camp where they met Vietnam for a tune up match last 31 December 2018 in a 4-2 loss.
23 players formed the final squad for the Asian Cup led by team captain Phil Younghusband, Stephan Schröck, Michael Falkesgaard, and Manny Ott.
“To represent the Philippines in the biggest tournament in Asia is the greatest honor the players can give back for flag and country,” underlined Araneta. “Let us all get behind the team in the Asian Cup and together strive to dream the impossible.”