Philippine Azkals reach highest FIFA ranking in historyPosted on October 5th, 2012 under Sporting Gold
Following a victorious campaign in the Philippine Football Peace Cup, the Philippines has moved up the ladder to 147th in the latest International Football Federation (FIFA) Rankings.
The Philippines is now tied with Kazakhstan on its new spot. This came after a successful month of September that saw victories against Singapore, and after winning the Philippine Football Peace Cup where they defeated the likes of Guam, Macau and Chinese Taipei en route to the title.
This has been the highest ranking that the Philippines has garnered since the introduction of the FIFA rankings. Their previous high was 148th last April following a successful campaign in the AFC Challenge Cup where they advanced to the semi-finals and finished third in the competition. Its lowest ever spot was 195th in 2006.
The updated rankings also indicate that the Philippines is still considered as one of the top countries in the ASEAN region with only AFF Suzuki Cup rivals Thailand and Vietnam ahead at 139 and 140 respectively. It is ranked 21st among all Asian countries.
Prepping for Suzuki
With the AFF Suzuki Cup set to begin in late November, preparations are ongoing for the Azkals. They are scheduled to fly to the Middle East next week for another training camp and a series of matches against Bahrain and Kuwait, who they last met in the second round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers last year.
Head coach Michael Weiss has made several changes to the Middle East bound squad from the Peace Cup as Filipino-Danish pair Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara, goalkeeper Roland Muller, midfielder Paul Mulders, and Angel and Juan Luis Guirado return to the squad.
One surprise in the squad is the return of brothers Phil and James Younghusband after the two were left out in the Peace Cup lineup last month. The Younghusband brothers are now in Singapore for the semifinal round of the RHB Singapore Cup where their club, Loyola Meralco Sparks will face reigning S.League champions Tampines Rovers tomorrow and on Sunday.
Missing out on the training camp are goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who was recently loaned out to Bristol Rovers FC, and midfielder Stephan Schrock who is playing for Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim.
(Story courtesy of Icko de Guzman of Rappler.com)