Azkals want young blood

THE Philippine Azkals are determined to revitalize the squad for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

For coach Scott Cooper, the formation of the Azkals development team will hopefully give the senior team an injection of new blood.

“We’re revitalizing the current team, searching for new potential impact players while the ADT program is up and running. We just need results to back it up,” said Cooper.

The Philippines had been in the final four of the last few editions of the AFF Suzuki Cup, and with the biggest regional football competition set to push through in November, Cooper wants to sustain this run.

“We’ve been able to identify younger players with specific talents who have a bright future ahead,” said Cooper.

“The team is playing more offensive than ever and it looks like they can play against any other team anywhere. Our future is bright. We are very optimistic. And we’re putting plans in place to continue our development.”

Philippines team manager Dan Palami is also upbeat on the program that Cooper is building in, not only for the AFF Suzuki Cup but also in the future international competitions.

“There is now a belief in the players and staff that performing well against much higher ranked countries isn’t rare. We’re more confident that we can be one of the best teams in Asia. There is certainly a paradigm shift in terms of the culture that we have in the team,” said Palami.

The Azkals' team training are on hold, as the matches of the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.