MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals prepare themselves for a difficult game versus their World Cup qualifiers tormentor Kuwait when they play an exhibition match at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.
Azkals coach Hans Weiss expects his team to face a Kuwait squad different from the one they battled in the qualifiers last year.
Nevertheless, he anticipates a high-level football game from the World No. 112-ranked Kuwait on Tuesday.
“I expect a totally different football and I expect us to be very close to the opponent. I don't want to speak of a victory but we will do everything that is possible to get a very good result,” said Weiss.
Last Friday, the Azkals successfully held 115-ranked Bahrain to a scoreless draw.
Weiss said he hopes the Filipino squad could beat Kuwait or at least secure a draw just like what they did against Bahrain.
“A draw would be a good result or depending on the performance, slight defeat, but of course we prepare in every match in order to win,” said the coach.
Striker Phil Younghusband, who will join the Azkals since missing the Peace Cup last month, said his team is looking forward to avenge their loss to Kuwait last year.
The Kuwaitis foiled the Philippines’ World Cup hopes by defeating the Filipinos in two qualifying games with a 5-1 aggregate in the qualifiers.
But the 147-ranked Azkals will be fielding an improved squad, and this could mean a more competitive game against the mighty Kuwaitis.
“Happy, good to be back in Kuwait after last year,” said Younghusband. “I'm looking forward to avenging the loss that we had here last time.”
Azkals’ Chieffy Caligdong said he hopes to get their momentum going versus Kuwait, especially after the Bahrain game.
“Syempre malaking tulong sa amin ‘yong versus Bahrain,” said Caligdong. “Masaya kami, another historic [win]. Malaking bagay siya para sa games sa Tuesday at sa adjustment dito sa Middle East.”
The exhibition games are part of the Azkals’ preparation for the 2011 Suzuki Cup, which begins this November.
Younghusband will be working again with Filipino-German Denis Wolf, Filipino-Spanish Angel Guirado, new Azkals players Demit Omphroy, OJ Porterioa and Patrick Reichelt.
Wolf, for his part, will try to score against Kuwait as he did during the Peace Cup where he scored a total of four goals.
“I would give my best. Of course, I wanna try to score and win the game. I've said it a lot of times before. I'm here to win and that's the most important,” he said.
The game, which will be aired locally on Studio 23, kicks off at 6:50 p.m. – With a report from Maxxy Santiago, ABS-CBN Middle East Bureau