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OJ returns as Neil and Patino absent from the Azkals squad for October

OJ Porteria is back in the Azkals fold after seven months in the wilderness. (file photo)
By Kevin Estrada

The Philippine Football Federation has released its line-up for the 125th-ranked national team
in their October friendlies with Bahrain and North Korea earlier today.

Azkals gaffer Thomas Dooley called up 24 men as they continue their preparations for the ASEAN Championship in November.

With the core of the team came from the United Football League and also came from their win over Kyrgyzstan, the former United States assistant gives clubless OJ Porteria a surprise return to the squad since his dismissal in Tashkent seven months ago in a World Cup qualifier, as well as Luke Woodland who is not with the team in Bishkek last September.

Conspicously absent from the national side are Walsall's Neil Etheridge and for the second consecutive match, Henan's Javier Patino, as Ceres' Roland Muller will be the main man on the sticks as the Azkals will try to get the 23 that they need in two month's time.

Manuel Ott's younger brother Mike from Nuremburg's second team is the lone debutant on the team that featured only three overseas-based booters, apart from Daisuke Sato of Romania's Iasi who also played last September.

The Azkals' opponents will have new men on the touchline, with the 126th-placed West Asians will have former Czech under-20 tactician Miroslav Soukup whose last assignment was with WCQ groupmates Yemen, while the 118th-ranked East Asians will have a foreign boss for the first time in 25 years in Dane Jørn Andersen .

Both matches will now take place in the iconic Rizal Memorial Stadium on October 7 and 10, with the kick-off times yet to be decided between 3:30 or 8 PM depending on the lighting situation in the 82-year old landmark.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada