The Philippine national men’s football team’s preparations for the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup in November took a hit when Malaysia turned down its supposed friendly with the Azkals.
But the Azkals won’t have to wait long to find another opponent, as Papua New Guinea has confirmed to meet the Filipinos on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Azkals and Malaysia were initially scheduled to play in a friendly on Saturday on its neighbor’s home soil in Shah Alam. However, Malaysia decided to postpone the match as the date is in conflict with the schedule of the local league, according to the New Straits Times.
The decision to cancel the match is part of Malaysia’s plan to gather its best players for a longer preparation time for the Suzuki Cup. Its match against the Azkals is expected to push through in November just before the tournament, the report added.
Instead of Malaysia, the 134th-ranked Azkals will face the 199th-ranked Papua New Guinea in a friendly for the first time in Manila on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial stadium which kicks off at 8:00pm. Tickets are available at the stadium.
After the match versus Papua New Guinea, the Azkals will next fly to Doha, Qatar for a training tour where they will clash with Nepal on October 31.
The Azkals are using the matches to prepare for the Suzuki Cup where they will collide with Indonesia, Vietnam and the runner-up of the tournament qualifier on November in Hanoi where they will try to surpass their semifinal finish in the past two editions.