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Azkals earn more stripes

Despite an early exit in the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Mitsubishi Electric Cup, the Philippine national football team remains upbeat that the exposure gained by the young players there will only make them better.

Speaking after a 2-1 defeat against Indonesia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium late Monday, Azkals head coach Josep Ferre feels the experience gained in the group matches will reflect in the team’s future games.

The Azkals only won one game, a 5-1 victory over Brunei last 23 December at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to wind up with a 1-0-3 win-loss-draw mark, having lost to Cambodia (3-0) and Thailand (4-0) in Bangkok.

‘This is very important to have these kinds of tournaments and games to put them in difficult scenarios.’

“First, I would like to say that I am very happy to be part of their development because every time you play a game like this, it gives you a difficult situation where the player makes a step forward, to prove himself and do something else,” said Ferre, who was only appointed last month.

“This is very important to have these kinds of tournaments and games to put them in difficult scenarios.”

With Stephan Schrock ending his Azkals career, the Philippines will have to lean on the younger players in future tournaments.

Jens Rasmussen is one to look out for after scoring a brace against the Bruneians in his debut for the national team.

In the same match, Sandro Reyes also scored his first international goal for the Azkals after making his international seniors debut in 2021.

While Stephan Schrock has ended his Azkals playing days after 11 years, he is also optimistic that the new breed will someday rise to the occasion.

“You have to give credit to them and we have a bright future with the young ones — very, very promising players and I wish them all the best,” Schröck said.

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