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Dooley, Younghusband brace for Suzuki Cup homestand

Both Phil Younghusband and Thomas Dooley are thrilled to see the biggest footballing event in the country with the Suzuki Cup. (file photo)

By Kevin Estrada

PASIG CITY -- Philippines gaffer Thomas Dooley and skipper Phil Younghusband brace for the country's biggest footballing event, as they spoke to the Media after the first Suzuki Cup press conference Friday afternoon at the Marco Polo Ortigas.

Expectations were running high on the first-time hosts, as they try to cement their status as Southeast Asia's number one by getting the trophy that eluded them the most in a month's time.

"It's difficult to say. Again, if we would have everything 100%, the [Suzuki] Cup will be ours. With all the issues that we have, it's a totally different story," Dooley said.

He further added that the country's best are raring to go in front of their own supporters. "They can't wait to go out and fight and doing all the stuff," he added.

The American was pulling all the stops to make sure that the Azkals are razor sharp before locking horms with four-time titlists Singapore on the 19th.

"The are the underdogs, then they always rise to the occasion. And its something that we have to be aware," Dooley quoted.

Younghusband laments the absence of Daisuke Sato, Javier Patino (both Club commitments) and Martin Steuble (Suspension) but is looking forward for the team that they will step up for the country.

"They will be missed, but we have players to come in and do a good job. We're confident from the players that we have," he said.

However he added that every group in this year's competition is a group of death in itself, not just in Group A.

"No matter what group you get, it's a group of death. All the teams were strong  and very difficult. Whether we got Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc. No matter what game we're going into, we have to play our best," said the younger Younghusband, who is in his fourth ASEAN Championship.

The Azkals' defence of the Philippine Sports Stadium begin on Saturday, November 19 by facing the Lions at 8PM.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada