Drawn against strong opposition in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine Men’s Under-23 National look to cause a surprise when they begin their campaign against Timor-Leste this Friday 06 May 2022 in Phu Tho, Vietnam.
With Group A consisting of defending champion Vietnam, runners up Indonesia, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste, head coach Norman Fegidero hopes that they can reach their objective of qualifying to the semifinals for the first time since 1991.
“We’ll take it one game at a time, but our objective is to be in the semi-finals of the SEA Games,” said Fegidero. “I’m very happy to have all the players in the team and having Schrocky on board will help the team reach our objective.”
Backed by a stint in the Copa Paulino Alcantara, and a training camp in Malaysia, Fegidero hopes that the team is primed for the competition.
“Playing in the national team takes a lot of sacrifices, your family, your time,” added Fegidero. “Hopefully this will carry the team to the next level.”
Stephan Schrock, who will be playing in his second straight SEA Games, and Under-23 mainstay Oskari Kekkonen also look forward to the challenge ahead in the biennial competition and credits Fegidero’s mentorship as a key factor in their campaign.
“I’m very excited finally we are close to the opening game as this team we have feels more prepared,” said Schrock. “ I’m confident in the abilities of these players and I am looking forward to make history with the U23s.”
“The team has grown since we began last October,” added Kekkonen. “Coach Norman has a great career and experience as a player and coach. He knows the intensity and level that he wants from us and we hope we can translate it to the pitch.”