MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation is eyeing a late September schedule for the four-nation meet it is organizing in Bacolod City as part of the Azkals’ preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup.
PFF president Nonong Araneta said from the original slate of Oct. 12-16, the PFF is looking at new match dates of Sept. 25, 27, and 29 for the competitions that will feature Phl, Chinese Taipei and Macau and a fourth nation, possibly recent visitor Guam.
“We’re setting an earlier schedule to give way to the participation of the Loyola Meralco Sparks in the semifinals of the RHB Singapore Cup in the first week of October,” Araneta said.
The Sparks are bannered by two Azkals stalwarts, Fil-British brothers Phil and James Younghusband, and are set to face Singapore League powerhouse Tampines Rovers in the semifinals in October.
The four-nation meet in Bacolod will be this year’s version of the Long Teng Cup, an annual international bootfest among the Filipinos, the Taiwanese, and players from Macau and Hong Kong, previously held in Kaoshiung.
Last year’s champion Hong Kong had already begged off from the Bacolod tilt, according to Araneta, who added that they are looking at Guam to complete the roster.
“We’ve already written Chinese Taipei and Macau if they are available for the new dates and we’ll probably know their answer by this week,” said Araneta.
He added that the Guam Matao, who were in Phl last June 12 and dropped a 0-3 setback to the Azkals, will likely be invited to join this gig, having expressed interest to return to the City of Smiles.