My 2010-2019 All-Azkals Team
Neil Etheridge (L), Stephan Schrock (C) and Phil Younghusband
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My 2010-2019 All-Azkals Team
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - July 9, 2020 - 2:15pm

MANILA, Philippines – I have keenly followed the fortunes and exploits of the Philippine men’s football national team since 2004 and it has been a treat to see how the Azkals, as the nationals are nicknamed, have grown since.

That the Azkals have moved from No. 195 in the FIFA rankings to No. 111 in May of 2018 says a lot. That’s 84 spots they jumped ahead. And they do not look to stop there.

Having followed the team and served as media officer for eight years, here are my personal selections for the Azkals’ All-Decade squad plus the seven substitutes (named to a proper match day roster).

Take note that the numbers I cite – caps and goals – are only from 2010-2019 including friendlies, and I also selected them for their impact.

Goalkeeper: Neil Etheridge. Manned the sticks for 59 matches.

Defenders
Simone Rota – 40 matches and scored 2 goals.
Juani Guirado – Shored up that defense post-2010. Played in 36 matches and scored one goal.
Amani Aguinaldo– Suited up for 38 matches. 
Daisuke Sato – 49 matches and gave the team speed up that left side. Scored three goals too.

Midfield 
James Younghusband – added some scoring sock from the midfield in addition to his slick passing. Scored 13 goals.

Stephan Schrock– The moment this Teutonic import hit the pitch, he made an impact. The fact that he is recognized as one of the best in Asia means something. Scored six thunderous goals for the country.

Chieffy Caligdong–Provided speed on the wings and scoring sock in which case he could score with either foot. He has scored some of the most dramatic goals in Azkals history. Knocked in 14 of his 16 goals in this decade. 

Patrick Reichelt – Greased lightning as well on the flanks. One of those who came up after the 2010 Suzuki Cup and made his presence felt especially during the Suzuki Cup. And he still does to this day. Has 10 goals to his name to go with 61 caps. After Phil Younghusband, no other played has had more caps since 2010.

Forwards 

Phil Younghusband – Easily the best ever to wear an Azkals jersey. So many highlights. From playing sick against Vietnam in 2010 where he scored the insurance goal to – there’s so much. Scored 49 international goals in this decade. The best ever.

Misagh Bahadoran – Exciting. Crafty. Damn good. He makes my list because he could play in the midfield or up front. Either way, he was a creative force. Has 56 caps and eight goals to his name during this span.

Reserves: Chris Greatwich, Roland Muller, Carli de Murga, Kevin Ingreso, Manny Ott, Iain Ramsay and Angel Guirado.

Head coach: Thomas Dooley (18-11-13). Led the Philippines to a semis berth in the 2014 Suzuki Cup as well as to its first Asian Cup. However, his side in the 2016 Suzuki Cup did not get out of the group stages. Nevertheless, that is the best record by any Philippines head coach.

AZKALS FOOTBALL
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