Gerrit Holtmann headlines Azkals bound for Mongolia – Manila Bulletin
Twenty-four players have been named in the Filipino Azkals squad for the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying which kicks off on Wednesday, June 8 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Germany’s Bundesliga star Gerrit Holtmann tops the list of players who have earned the nod from returning coach Thomas Dooley for the final stage of the continental playoffs.
But Holtmann, who scored five goals in the 2021/22 season, won’t be available until after the Azkals’ opener against Yemen.
The rest of the roster will be a mix of veterans and youth level players as the Azkals hope to qualify for the Asian Cup for the second time in a row.
Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is back behind the bats for the Azkals while naturalized striker Bienvenido Maranon will only be playing in his second national team competition.
Mark Hartmann, brothers Manny and Mike Ott, Kenshiro Daniels, Patrick Reichelt, Dennis Villanueva and OJ Porteria were asked for another tour of duty while U-23 stalwarts Oliver Bias, Sandro Reyes and Oskari Kekkonen were also on the list .
Also joining are Dylan de Bruycker and Jhan-Jhan Mellliza, who could win his first international cap.
Longtime players Amani Aguinaldo, Daisuke Sato and Simone Rota, Miguel Mendoza, Mar Diano, Jesse Curran and Jefferson Tabinas, the Japanese second division player who made his debut in the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers , are tasked with playing defensive roles.
Kevin Hansen and Anthony Pinthus will join Etheridge as the team’s goaltenders.
The Azkals will be looking to either top Group B or become one of the top five runners-up to qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup.
After Yemen, the Philippines welcome Mongolia on June 11 and Palestine on June 14.
The final roster came after difficult preparation which saw Dooley opt out of including captain Stephan Schrock coupled with the Azkals’ loss to a selection of Philippine Football League players in a recent layoff match. point.
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