Philippine Azkals face Fiji in friendly

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Azkals expect a good workout tonight against Fiji at Rizal Memorial Stadium as they step up their preparations for their crucial AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers fixture.

The 122nd-ranked Azkals host the No. 168 Bula Boys – an unfamiliar opponent from the Oceania region – in their first-ever international friendly aimed at helping whip them into shape for Tuesday’s all-important showdown with Tajikistan.

“We never played Fiji before so we don’t know what to expect (from them). In cases like this, it can become a bit more tricky, a bit more difficult. I think it will be a difficult game and it will be a perfect test for us going to the Tajikistan game because that’s exactly what we need,” said Phl skipper Phil Younghusband.

The Pinoy booters hit the field again four months after their last assignment in the Asian Cup Qualifiers, which resulted in a draw with Nepal in Kathmandu.

“It’s great for us players because we haven’t been together for a while. After the break, it feels good to be back together, see familiar faces in camp,” said Younghusband. “The spirits are high, everyone’s happy to be with each other and compared to last year, there’s more energy in this camp and everyone’s a bit more confident going to the next two games.”