By FRANCIS SANTIAGO
MANILA, Philippines — “We are ready to rumble.”
This was the message the officials and the players of the Philippine national football team want to deliver when they see action in the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Championship Qualifiers starting October 22 in Vientiane, Laos.
“We have a team that is ready to redeem Philippine football,” said team manager Dan Palami in Tuesday’s PSA Forum at the Shakey’s U.N. Avenue in Manila.
Beefed up by at least six foreign-based players with Filipino roots, the national team is confident of it can pull off big wins in the tourney where they will meet Timor Leste, Laos and Cambodia.
The top two teams from the qualifying event will move into the main tournament in Vietnam and Indonesia.
The top team in the qualifier will join Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, while the runner-up will be grouped with Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar.
“We’re not just there to participate but to win,” said Simon McMenemy, the new English coach of the national squad, who has served in various capacities in top clubs in England.
“The preparations have been superb the past 10 months. We have evolved as a team. The players who are fit, willing to play for each other, fight for each other and assist each other.”