By Karl Decena
BANGKOK, Thailand — Philippine national men’s football coach Hans Michael Weiss remains confident despite the absence of two starters for the Azkals’ last match in the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup against Myanmar on Friday here.
Aside from the departure of midfielder Jerry Lucena, who flew back to Denmark last Wednesday to return to his club, defender Ray Jonsson will also miss the Myanmar match after sustaining an injury to his right quadriceps.
Despite their absence, Weiss said the remaining players in the lineup can fill the void left by Jonsson and Lucena.
“We have a good pool of players. Our advantage is that everybody knows the system and has the maturity to understand the system,” he said.
“The core of the back four is very experienced to lead the younger players. That puts me in the position that whoever we choose can fill the gaps Jerry left behind.”
Weiss also revealed that defender Carli De Murga, who has not played in the tournament, will take place of Jonsson in the starting backline.
“Carli is actually a starter for most of the period since I’m here,” he said. “He will be more than excited for this game.”
A victory against Myanmar on Friday will assure the Azkals a semifinals spot in the Suzuki Cup, where they look to surpass their Cinderella run in the tournament two years ago.