Philippines striker Phil Younghusband excited by AFF Cup despite receiving 'most difficult' draw

The former Chelsea man was cautiously optimistic about the Azkals chances of success at the 2012 AFF Cup following on from their fourth place finish two years ago
By David Pallasigue

The Philippines are confident that they will be able to replicate or even surpass their 2010's AFF Cup fourth place finish at the 2012 equivalent in Malaysia and Thailand following this week's draw for the event.

The Azkals were drawn in Group A alongside powerhouse Thailand, Vietnam and the winner of the qualifying group which are being contested by neighbouring countries, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Myanmar, Brunei and Laos.

Filipino striker Phil Younghusband, who won the Golden Boot award with six goals at the last AFC Challenge Cup, was cautious but optimistic about their chances of success at the 2012 event which will be played in November and December.

"It was the most difficult outcome that would have been possible, but if we want to show how far we've come and want to win the competition, we have to win the best teams," he told

Azkals manager Dan Palami, who together with the Philippine Football Federation has arranged a 15-day training camp in Chicago, said: "It's a difficult draw no matter how you look at it but if we want to win the tournament, preparation is the key".

The group stage of the competition will start on November 24 and will run until December 1 and will be played at the Rajamangala Stadium in Thailand and Kukit Jalil Stadium in Malaysia.

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