MANILA (27 Sept 2011) – Following the glaring mistakes in the backline in their loss to Kuwait in a recent FIFA World Cup qualifying match, the Philippines are tweaking the defensive line-up to be stronger ahead of the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan and also the two friendlies next month.
For the moment, chief coach Michael Weiss has opted to use the older Younghusband, James in the right fullback position in place of the struggling Rob Gier.
“James seems to be right for the spot. He has speed, good field vision and is also strong,” said Weiss (pix) of the younger 25-year-old James as against the older legs of 30-year-old Gier.
Added Mariano Araneta Jr., the president of the Philippines Football Federation: “the defense was a step slower to respond to Kuwait’s counter attack so I suggested to coach Michael if we could make some changes in the back row. Gier could barely keep pace with the relentless Kuwaiti attackers.”
Other than James alongside, Jason Sabio and captain Aly Borromeo, the Azkals will also be hoping that Dennis Cagara, a highly-rated Fil-Danish defender, will make his home debut against Nepal.
Cagara is a former member of the Danish youth squad, who has played for Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga.
“Dennis will join us for the two friendlies,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “He is a good addition to the team with his skills and experience.”
The Philippines will be playing in the Long Teng Cup on 30 Sept to 4 Oct 2011 against hosts Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau.
They are also scheduled to take on Singapore on 7 October in the island republic before playing against Nepal four days later at home at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.