Veterans, aspirants carry fight for Philippines in Bangladesh

MANILA, Philippines — A mix of seasoned balik-Azkals and young aspirants carries the fight for the Philippines when it competes in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup this week in Bangladesh.

Misagh Bahadoran of Malaysian side Perak FA skippers the 21-man side in the six-country tournament, which Phl coach Scott Cooper wants to use as venue to check out more players as the Azkals gear up for the AFF Suzuki Cup next month.

Aside from Bahadoran, the Azkals have called up overseas-based Hikaru Minegishi of Thai club Pattaya and Angel Guirado of Malaysian side Negeri Sembilan as well as local-based national team returnees Amani Aguinaldo (Ceres Negros), Kenshiro Daniels (unattached), Jerry Barbaso (Ceres), Anton del Rosario (Davao), Eduard Sacapano (Ceres) and Louie Casas (Global Cebu).

Rounding out the roster are Ace Villanueva (Kaya), OJ Clarino (Davao), Jordan Jarvis (Global), Alvin Sarmiento (Global), Nathanael Alquiros (Stallion Laguna), Marvin and Marwin Angeles (Global), Angelo Marasigan (Global), Paolo Salenga (Davao), Fitch Arboleda (Stallion), Joven Bedic (Kaya Iloilo) and Jarvey Gayoso (Ateneo).

Phl XI kicks off its campaign in Group B on Oct. 3 against Laos and wraps up its pool assignment on Oct. 5 against host Bangladesh, looking to land in the Top 2 to progress to the semis. The other group features Nepal, favored Palestine and Tajikistan.