by Peter Atencio
LITTLE is known about the Sri Lankan national team—the Brave Reds—the Philippine Azkals’ first opponent in their first home-and-away match for the World Cup qualifying encounters.
Most of the Brave Reds came from the Sri Lankan Premier League and have yet to come up with an impressive showing in the international scene.
In the group stage competitions of the 2012 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup two months ago, the Brave Reds finished Group D with a draw and a loss.
Azkals team manager Dan Palami said members of the squad feel upbeat of their chances in coming up with convincing wins after viewing the game tapes of the Brave Reds recently.
“We watched the tapes of their game. If we continue what we’re doing and with new players coming in, I think we have a good chance of getting past them,” said Palami.
The Brave Reds have four experienced players, whom they are counting on playing in club tournaments in India, namely goalkeeper Sugath Dammika Thilakaratne, Channa Ediri Bandanage, along with midfielders Mohamed Izzadeen and forward Kasun Jayasuriya.
On the other hand, the Philippines will be fielding its best lineup in recent years and could give the Brave Reds a run for their money.
The presence of Fil-British goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Rob Gier, Aly Borromeo, the Younghusband brothers Phil and James, Ray Jonsson, Angel Guirrado, William Guerridon, Chris Greatwich, Lucena, and Anton del Rosario will enable to the Philippine Azkals to hurdle their assignments against the Brave Reds.
At the moment the Azkals are in Cebu for a weeklong training camp, and are staying at Plantation Bay in Mactan.
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