Fil-Dutch goalie Quincy Kammeraad will be one of the many new faces, who will be part of the Philippine Azkals’ national men’s under-23 team, which team manager Dan Palami called as the “best players available.”
The 20-year-old Kammeraad is now in Singapore with the rest of his teammates to get ready for action in the Asian Football Confederation under-23 Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
There were 23 players called up for the qualifiers, including Kammeraad, midfielders Oliver Bias and Mark Winhoffer, and defender Justin Baas.
The four are members of the senior lineup during the recent preliminary joint qualifiers Round 2 last June in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
“It (team) has a balance of those who played for the Azkals, and those who played in the professionals. Everybody’s checked out,” said Azkals’ coach Scott Cooper before the team went into their first day of practice.
The members of the squad were finally assembled following a training camp and two friendlies that were held in the past month in Qatar.
Collegiate booter Enrico Mangaoang, a goalie from de La Salle University, also made the cut with Jessie Reil Semblante, another goalkeeper from Mendiola FC.
Matches are set from Oct 25 to 31 in Singapore.
“What we always tried to do is get represented by the best players available,” said manager Palami, who said local players were picked after they conducted a closed-circuit training bubble last September at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.
The Philippines is bunched in Group H, with the Azkals meeting defending champion Korea Republic, host Singapore, and Timor-Leste at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Fil-Italian booters Paolo Nicola Perez and Christian Rontini were also welcomed into the squad with Fil-British David Setter, Jethro Borlongan, Dennis Chung and Yrick Gallantes.
The others are Mandy Ignacio, Oscari Kekkonen, Jacob Maniti, Sandro Reyes, Nathan Rilloraza, Mark Swainston, Shanden Vergara, Kieran Hayes, Miguel Antonio Mendoza, Marcel Ouano and Jens Sebastian Rasmussen.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said they have high hopes for the team, and commended the coaching staff and management for their hard work and resilience in confronting the challenges that are taking place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Peter Atencio
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