MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, enjoying a new all-time high in the Fifa world rankings at 124th, hopes to get inspiration from its newest achievement when it fields a team to the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 Championship slated July 27-Aug. 9 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The Phl 30-man pool is in the final stages of training at the University of the Philippines campus in Laguna under coach Jose Maria Aberasturi, who is being assisted by former Azkals captain Chieffy Caligdong.
The Pinoy booters are drawn in Group B with 2013 edition bronze medalist Australia, Singapore, host Cambodia and Myanmar. Holder Malaysia leads Group A and is joined by 2013 semifinalist Vietnam, Laos, Timor Leste, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand.
Phl pool is composed of graduates from the U-14 and newly scouted recruits, who impressed the coaching staff during the nationwide tryouts.
The Filipinos will kick off their bid against Cambodia on July 28 before taking onSingapore two days after, Myanmar on Aug. 1, and Australia on Aug. 5, hoping to take one of two semis berths offered in the group.
The side will see action on the same month the nation soared by 13 spots in the Fifa’s monthly men’s ranking, eclipsing the previous best at 127th.
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While the Azkals made a significant leap, the Philippines absorbed a drop in its ranking over in the women’s division.
The Filipinas fell one spot to 83rd in the world, overtaken by Indonesia which returned to active duty this year. The Pinays’ performance in the recent AFF Women’s Championship a 3-0 win over Malaysia and losses to Myanmar (1-4) and Vietnam (0-4) were reflected in the July 2015 ranking released Friday night.