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Jefferson Tabinas to miss Suzuki Cup despite J.League finish

Jefferson Tabinas will not be seeing action at all in the AFF Suzuki Cup. AFC (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Azkals will be without one vital cog for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Interim coach Stewart Hall announced on Tuesday that defender Jefferson Tabinas will still be out of the team despite his stint in the J.League already done.

"He's not coming at all," Hall said ahead of the Azkals' debut in the 2021 edition of the traditionally biennial tournament against Singapore.

Hall simply reasoned, "There are obviously problems in Japan, and he's not coming."

Tabinas played for Mito HollyHock this past J2 season, and it seemed that there was a chance of him making the Azkals roster especially when Chanathip Songkrasin and Theerathon Bunmathan joined Thailand following their own stints in J1.

Songkrasin and Bunmathan missed Thailand's 2-0 win over Timor Leste during the season opener on Sunday night but will be available against Myanmar on Saturday night.

Despite the roster setback, Hall remains optimistic of the Azkals' backline even without Tabinas.

"That's not a problem for us," Hall continued. "We can cover him from this squad."

Also listed as defenders for the Azkals are Amani Aguinaldo, Mar Diano, Daisuke Sato, Justin Baas, Yrick Gallantes, Martin Steuble, Jesper Nyholm, Matthew Custodio and Christian Rontini.

The Azkals-Singapore game will be aired live on Tap Sports' Premier Football channel and the Tap Go app.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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