The U-23 national team will be looking to sneak into the semi-finals against a strong field in Group A of Vietnam’s Southeast Asian Games men’s football competitions which kicks off on Friday, May 6.
Odds are high against coach Norman Fegidero’s side after being drawn alongside 2019 winners Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste, the latter being the Philippines’ first opponents the day of the start of the Games.
Fegidero, best remembered for his game-winning goal that beat Malaysia at the 1991 SEAG in Manila, is taking a step-by-step approach as the Filipinos hope for a few upsets in the group stage.
“Our approach is to play one game at a time and our goal is to be in the semi-finals,” Fegidero said during a recent virtual press conference hosted by the Philippine Football Federation.
The captain of the Philippine Azkals team, Stephan Schrock, who will reinforce the U-23s, will be one of the oldest players in the team for the second consecutive time in the biennial encounter.
“Schrocky is a big help for the team,” Fegidero said. “He can lead the boys to achieve our goal at the SEA Games.”
After facing Timor-Leste on May 6, the Philippines will have their hands full against hosts Vietnam on May 8.
Next come Myanmar on May 10 before facing Indonesia on May 13 to conclude the group stage campaign.
A semi-final spot eluded the Philippines in front of their home fans in 2019 after finishing third in Group A behind Myanmar and Cambodia.
Vietnam won gold by defeating Indonesia in the final.
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