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‘Early preparation will be key for Azkals’

first_imgVolcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC DUBAI—For a team known to defy odds, the Philippine Azkals look like they would need a miracle to survive their group in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup next year here.But team manager Dan Palami thinks the squad will need something more tangible.ADVERTISEMENT Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Central Asian side Kyrgyzstan, which lost to the Azkals twice in friendly matches in 2016, was also drawn with the Philippines in Group C during the official draw ceremony at Armani Hotel inside the iconic Burj Khalifa here.The top two teams from the six groups and the four best third placed will qualify for the knockout stage.Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband, who was on stage as one of the draw assistants, is already looking forward to the challenge of creating a stir in the continent’s most prestigious football event.“I wanted a World Cup team in there, we got Korea. In China and Kyrgyzstan, we got two teams that we’ve played against and we’re familiar with,” said Younghusband. “This is on another level. This is where we want to be as a football country and hopefully this is just the start.“We’ve been trying to do this  over the last 12 years. We’ve done it before. We’ll have to do the same this time at a higher level so we’ll have to do it against China and South Korea,” added Younghusband. “Anything can happen in football. It’s up to us to take on the challenge.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH teams fall after brave stand In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ “We [need to] start preparing immediately, talk to sponsors, the Filipino community here,” said Palami. “We will leave no stone unturned in preparing for this tournament.”The way the draw turned out for the Azkals, anything less than ideal preparations would be disastrous.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“There are no easy draws for a debutant team like the Azkals,” said Palami. “We just have to prepare well. Korea and China would want to be in champions, but we can give them a surprise.”South Korea—a team bound for the World Cup for the ninth straight time in Russia this year—and China, a powerhouse squad that walloped the Azkals in a friendly last year, stand in the way of the Philippines’ hopes of reaching the knockout round of the quadrennial tournament. View comments MOST READ ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’last_img read more