The Philippine Azkals will have to strengthen both their attacking and defensive strategies in order to make up for the loss of two key players for the AFF Suzuki Cup which reels off tomorrow at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Fil-Spanish striker Javier Patino and Fil-Japanese defender Daisuke Sato have been ruled out of the competition after failing to secure a release from their respective clubs overseas, leaving a mix of holdovers and first time Suzuki Cup mainstays to fill up the void.
Patino would have been a welcome addition to squad for his abilities to produce goals up front while Sato had a solid showing at left back two years ago when the Azkals made the semifinals for the third time in Southeast Asia’s biggest football competition.
With Patino out, Misagh Bahadoran is expected to play a big role for the Azkals, especially after a sensational showing in the domestic front when he led Global to the UFL Cup and UFL league double.
Bahadoran, though, is coming off a groin and hamstring injury.