The Philippine Azkals are hoping to find ways to make up for the perceived lack of attacking options going into their AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 campaign in Singapore.
Veteran Angel Guirado and naturalized player Bienvenido Marañon will come in as the only strikers for the Azkals in the pandemic-delayed competition, something that may create a cause of concern.
But coach Scott Cooper believes other players can also fill up the role, with team captain Stephan Schrock and fellow veteran Patrick Reichelt among those who can be trusted up front.
Schrock has been known for his play at midfield while Reichelt’s strength has been in the wings. Both have also combined for 16 international goals during their time wearing the blue and white shirt.
“For us, our depth of strikers isn’t that deep,” admitted Cooper. “But we got Angel and we got Bienve, two very good strikers there. We got players that can play in a front three. And it’s just really how we have to work with what we’ve got.
“We’d all like to have five or six strikers deep. But we can’t force that issue if they’re not there in the first place,” added Cooper.
Cooper said the team tried to include Jovin Bedic, who recently led Kaya-Iloilo to the Copa Paulino Alcantara title, and Jarvey Gayoso.
But Bedic is unavailable to compete while Gayoso suffered a hamstring injury during his Copa stint for the Azkals Development Team.
The Azkals hope to have Maranon display his goalscoring ways with Ceres-Negros and United City in the domestic and Asian club competitions.
Guirado, aged 36, will try to display the old form that enabled him to score 12 goals in an Azkals shirt.
The Azkals will open their campaign in Group A on Dec. 8 against host Singapore, which rolled to a 3-0 win over Myanmar Sunday at the National Stadium.