The Philippines will flirt with destiny once again as they are placed in an unfavorable group in the AFF Suzuki Cup, after they have been drawn in Group A with Thailand and an old foe in Vietnam. In addition, they will also face the winner of the qualifier rounds, which will be held on October. The qualifiers will involve Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Timor Leste and host Myanmar.
The draw that was held Wednesday afternoon was held in Thailand also saw defending champions Malaysia hosting Indonesia and fierce rivals Singapore along with the runner up of the qualifiers.
Looking back in the previous iteration of the competition, the Philippines were grouped with Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar, that saw the Azkals defeat then defending champions Vietnam with a 2-0 scoreline that rekindled the football consciousness in the country.
To prepare for the competition, the Philippines has arranged camps in the United States in August, with friendlies against USL side Chicago Inferno as well a FIFA friendly with the US Virgin Islands. They will then immediately go to the Nehru Cup, which takes place from August 22 to September 2. Another camp will follow, then will participate in the tournament formerly known as the Long Teng Cup in Bacolod on October.
Azkals team manager Dan Palami is undaunted by the the draw, remarking that the team is familiar with tough draws, having gone through that with the previous Suzuki Cup as well as the AFC Challenge Cup. There will be tough games against tough teams, but we will try our best to overcome our situation.