The home game that the Philipppines never played last 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup will finally be a reality as the Philippine Men's National Team is set to face the Indonesia Merah Putih this June 5 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Both teams expressed their excitement as they faced the media in their press conference last June 4 at the Discovery Suites, Ortigas, Pasig.
Representatives from the Philippines are Coach Hans Michael Weiss, captain for tomorrow's match Chieffy Caligdong, defender Rob Gier, forward Denis Wolf and midfielder Manny Ott. As for Indonesia, their representatives are their head coach Nil Maizar and their captain for this match, Irfan Bachdim.
Maizar praised the Philippines for being a good team, particularly from holding Malaysia into a draw in the past two friendlies, on February 29 and June 1. He also said that they expect to face a competitive Philipipne team tomorrow. Meanwhile, Bachdim appreciated the warmth of the people but assured that they will fight for a win tomorrow. "I hope my team would be successful tomorrow," said Maizar.
Weiss said that the game would test our progress in the last one and a half year and what could be done in the next six months before the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012. When asked about how the team will be affected by Stephan Schrock's sudden decision to leave due to a family emergency, Weiss assured that the team still has a deep bench. "We are expecting Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena coming tonight, As much as we want to reintroduce Schrock tomorrow, we have no choice. We are not short of options. We have [Neil] Etheridge and [Phil and James] Younghusband coming back [in the squad] for tomorrow," said Weiss. Additionally, Gier hopes that more people will come out for tomorrow's game.
Caligdong and Gier previously faced Indonesia in 2010. "This will not be a revenge match," said Gier. He points out that a lot has changed as both squads will field newer and younger players. Meanwhile, Caligdong expressed that the friendly would be crucial as many would expect the change the squad had since. "Ang nakaraan ay tapos na, magstart na tayo magprepare for the next (The past is past, let's start preparing for the next)," declared Caligdong.
When asked about his experience as of having a foreign ancenstry and playing for Indonesia, Bachdim said that he feels very much appreciated and accepted in Indonesia. Though he thinks that sourcing for players outsite the country is beneficial, especially if the country has a sound sports development, such as his origin from Holland, he believes that too much of outsourcing will not work for the better in the end.