By JONAS TERRADO
Past and present members of the Azkals Development Team lead the national U-23 football team’s roster for the AFF U-23 Championship which starts Monday, Feb. 14 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Midfielders Oliver Bias and Dennis Chung and goalkeeper Quincy Kammeraad and ex-ADT mainstays Oskari Kekkonen and Sandro Reyes were among the names listed in the 26-man lineup released by the Philippine Football Federation.
Also included is Stallion-Laguna striker Finn McDaniel, the brother of Olivia and Chandler McDaniel who were both part of the Philippines’ historic World Cup qualification during the recent AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India.
Joining them are ADT members Yvan Ouano, Pete Forrosuelo, Andres Aldeguer and Matt Ocampo, United City’s Pocholo Bugas and Kieran Hayes, Mendiola FC 1991’s Mariano Suba, Dynamic Herb Cebu’s Jamie Rosquillo and Stallion’s Gyles Lucas Encabo and Jayvee Kallukaran.
Collegiate players were also tapped for the competition, namely La Salle’s Enrico Mangaoang, Jessie Semblante of San Beda and Mendiola, Elijah Jacob Liao of Ateneo.
Players who are attached with overseas clubs are David Setters of England’s Portsmouth FC, Jacob Maniti of Macarthur FC in Australia, Antoine Ortega of Spanish side CF Badalona, Jacob Pena of Erksine University in the United States.
Completing the lineup are Miguel Mendoza and Nathan Rilloraza who both have no clubs as of the moment.
Stewart Hall, who handled the Philippine Azkals in the AFF Suzuki Cup last December in Singapore, will call the shots for the U-23 side as it aims for a spot in the knockout stage through Group A.
The Philippines is joined by host Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Brunei. The top team and possibly the group runner-up advance to the quarterfinals.
The Young Azkals open their campaign Monday against Timor-Leste before taking on Cambodia on Feb. 17 and Brunei on Feb. 20. In Group B are Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Laos while Group C has Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore