By JONAS TERRADO
Stephan Schrock and naturalized player Bienvenido Maranon headline the Philippine Azkals squad for the pandemic-delayed AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 which starts Dec. 5 in Singapore.
Schrock and Maranon will be joined by a mixture of national team veterans, youngsters from the U-23 squad and Azkals Development Team and overseas-based players as they aim to perform well despite the absence of notable names for Southeast Asia’s biggest competition.
Also named to the roster are Azkals veterans Patrick Reichelt, Mike Ott, Martin Steuble, Angel Guirado, Amani Aguinaldo, Kevin Ingreso, Iain Ramsay, Daisuke Sato and Copa Paulino Alcantara champion Kaya-Iloilo’s Kenshiro Daniels.
Defender Jefferson Tabinas will also suit up after an impressive debut in the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers last June along with goalkeepers Bernd Schipmann and Kevin Mendoza and defenders Justin Baas and Mar Diano.
Diano will also be accompanied by eight ADT teammates in U-23 players Oliver Bias, Dennis Chung, Oskari Kekkonen, Sandro Reyes, Christian Rontini and Quincy Kameraad and Matthew Custodio.
Completing the lineup are first-timers Jesper Nyholm, who is based in Sweden, Amin Nazari and Harry Foll.
The Azkals are seeking a fifth semifinal appearance since the miracle run in 2010, but will have their hands full in Group A which features Thailand, which won the tournament five times, host Singapore, Myanmar and Timor-Leste.
Coach Scott Cooper’s side won’t start its campaign until Dec. 8 when the Philippines takes on Singapore at cavernous National Stadium.
Next up is Timor-Leste on Dec. 11, Thailand on Dec. 14 and Myanmar on Dec. 18 at Bishan Stadium.