The Philippine Azkals football team is all set to collide with Thailand's War Elephants on the opening day of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup tournament Saturday night in Bangkok, Thailand.
The game will start 9:00 p.m. local time after the opening game between Myanmar and Vietnam at 5:30 p.m. Venue for the opening games will be the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Aszkals will face Thailand without their star goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who could not join the team due to conflicting schedules with his home team in England.
Etheridge is currently playing for English fourth-division club Bristol Rovers from Premier League club Fulham of the UK.
Etheridge was instrumental in getting the Azkals to the semi finals in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup biennial competition. Read more'
The Azkals are hoping Fil-German Roland Muller wail be able to join the team later in the tournament as possible replacement for Etheridge.
If the Azkals move further in the tournament Muller may join goalkeepers Ed Sacapano and Ref Cuaresma to watch the Azkals' goal.
Forewards Phil Younghusbuand and Denis Wolf will be joined by James Younghusband and nine other midfielders .
Seven defenders including Jeff Christiaens will complete Azkals roster of 22 players for the 2012 Suzuki Cup competition.
Azkal's German coach Michael Weiss downplayed Thailand's strength, saying it is not a team to fear.
“You cannot be overwhelmed by the strength of another team,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss. “Thailand has good quality but it’s not a team to fear.”
Thailand's coach Winfried Schaefer, who is also from Germany said, the Philippines has a very strong team and it won't be an easy game for the War Elephants.
The 9:00 p.m. game between Philippines and Thailand will be televised live on AKTV and will be covered by other local and international channels including ESPN.