By NIKOLE JAVIER
The Philippine Azkals are looking to reconnect with Filipino fans as they battle Nepal and Chinese Taipei in back-to-back friendly matches at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Azkals will take on Nepal on Thursday, June 15 at 7 p.m. with the hope of stretching their winning record over the latter.
The Philippines will then wrap their friendlies against Chinese Taipei on Monday, June 19 at the same venue.
After struggling to regain footing and stability over the past years, the Azkals will attempt to make strides once more under the guidance of its returning head coach Michael Weiss.
However, not only the Nationals lost years of progress, but also support from Pinoy fans, which is something they’re looking to get back.
“I hope the older fans from the Philippines come back to support us because I feel like we lost the connection with the fans a little bit. That’s something we’re looking to get back. That’s what I want, that’s what we want,” said Azkals defender Daisuke Sato during the online pre-match press conference on Wednesday, June 14.
With many football fans turning their attention to the Filipinas, and understandably so, following their bid to the FIFA Women’s World Cup this July, Sato is hoping to help the Azkals rediscover its lost glory.
“Tomorrow we start another journey. We wanna have the positives, the past couple of years being not the best time for the Azkals. We’re looking forward for a new start tomorrow,” added Sato.
The Philippine team, though, is not only short on time but also on players as some of the members have decided to pull out due to injuries.
The German coach, who have touched on the basics with the team in a short period of time, also isn’t expecting for an immediate turnaround, but was hoping to make a promising second stint in the touchline with the Azkals as part of their preparations for the joint World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers later this year.