MANILA (12 July 2012) – The draw has been made. And with still months to go to the big event in November, the gauntlet has already been thrown as Dan Palami, the team manager of the Philippines national team, has stated that they are coming in as favourites and not as a surprise package.
The Philippines created a stir at the last edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup when they dumped defending champions Vietnam 2-0 in Hanoi in the group stage. That victory ensured their passage into the next round where they faced Indonesia in the semi-finals.
But despite not being able to make the cut for the final, the performance of the Philippines national side has garnered them enough credit to ensure that they gained an automatic qualification into the main draw this time round.
“We’re not coming in as a surprise team anymore. We’re coming in as one of the favourites,” said Palami after the draw was announced yesterday.
The Philippines are in Group A of the tournament this year against hosts Thailand, Vietnam and the winning team from the qualifiers.
In Group B are hosts Malaysia where they will be up against Indonesia, Singapore and the runners-up team from the qualifying round.