Azkals brace for Nepal visit to open Asian Cup qualifiers

Nepal gaffer Koji Gyotoku and Philippines manager Thomas Dooley shakes hands for their pre-match conference with the media.

By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- It will be an exciting start for the Asian Cup qualifiers for the Philippines as they brace for the visit of Nepal in tomorrow's Group F curtain raiser.

That's what manager Thomas Dooley is feeling when they meet the footballing press on the eve of their opener against the inaugural Solidarity Cup holders.

"Obviously, we're exciting for tomorrow's game. Qualifying for the Asian Cup is huge," the American opened in the pre-match presser here at Century Park Hotel.

Skipper Phil Younghusband looks forward to the competition ahead and they are aware that they have to put the near misses in Asian Cup qualifying behind them.

"This is the competition that we look forward to this year, and it's important that we have a good start, that's why this game will set the tone for the rest of the group," the Loyola marksman said, as the Azkals are favorites against the lower ranked South Asians tomorrow night at the Rizal Memorial at 8PM.

However, Dooley cautioned about underestimating the side that is 46 ranks below them

"I don't care about rankings, as we should not underestimate Nepal. In football anything can happen," he said when asked about the gap between the two sides.

Younghusband agreed to what his manager said, noting that the past three wins against the inaugural Solidarity Cup holders would not matter now.

"This is a different game," the skipper quipped.

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