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Azkals want Filipinas’ model

A key member of the Philippine Azkals believes that the team should follow the imprints of the national women’s team to succeed in the upcoming AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup later this year.

Naturalized player Bienvenido Marañon said the Filipinas are the perfect model to emulate as the men’s side struggles to gain form in the international stage.

The Spanish-born striker said the Azkals need to undergo longer training and thorough buildup knowing that tough task awaits them in the biennial tourney.

The Philippines is bunched with defending champion Thailand in Group A, alongside runner-up Indonesia, Cambodia and the qualification winner between Timor Leste and Brunei.

The Azkals will open their campaign against Cambodia on 20 December, but the venue is yet to be determined.

“We have to start (training) with the team that we have now. We have to focus on the present because the people want to see the results right now,” Marañon said.

“I think the ladies showed the way on how to do everything, to make people join us.”

True enough, the Azkals are on the other end of the Filipinas’ spectrum.

Their last campaign ended in a disaster as they missed a chance to make it to the 2023 Asian Cup despite the presence of Europe-based booters Neil Etheridge and Gerrit Holtmann.

Limited preparation also resulted in the group stage exit in the 2020 AFF edition, breaking their streak of four straight consecutive semis appearances in the tourney.

With their counterparts showing how it should be done, Marañon believes the men’s side should not waste anything as well.

“Like the ladies, they don’t want to waste anything, they want (to make) results.”

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