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Azkals name final pool ahead of crucial WCQ matches

The Azkals while in training in Doha. PFF
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Football Federation confirmed on Monday who is officially in the final pool of the Philippine Azkals for the final window of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers second round.

Melaka's Manny Ott headlines the late call-ups as the Azkals had to deal with injuries and even troubles of making it to the training camp in Doha to some early call-ups.

United City's Stephan Schrock will be the skipper for the national team, while Carli De Murga, Luke Woodland, Alvaro Silva, Martin Steuble, Kenshiro Daniels, Mike Ott, Patrick Reichelt, Angel Guirado, and Mark Hartmann also make up the veteran core.

Young bloods Kevin Ray Hansen, Quincy Kammeraad, and Bernd Schipmann are competing for the starting goalkeeper spot vacated by supposed vice captain Neil Etheridge, who recently underwent surgery that forced him to let go of his Azkals spot.

Justin Baas, Mar Diano, Michael Kempter, Jefferson Tabinas, Oliver Bias, Jarvey Gayoso, and Mark Winhoffer complete the national team pool.

Schipmann, Bias, Tabinas, and Kempter are playing for the national team in the seniors level for the very first time.

The Azkals will face China at 1 a.m. Tuesday (Philippine Time) in the first of three crucial matches that could determine their fate in entering the next round of the qualifiers.

The Azkals will also take on Guam on Friday and Maldives next Tuesday.

The Azkals must either be at the top spot in Group A, currently held by Syria, or among the four best second placers to book a spot in the third round of the WCQ, which also means an outright spot in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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