The Filipino Azkals suffered another blow against their bid for World Cup qualification when co-captain Neil Etheridge and eight others were eliminated on Saturday May 29th.

The team announced that Etheridge will undergo surgery to prevent his return to the national team for the second round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, which will be played in a bubble in Suzhou, China.

Azkals mainstays, Iain Ramsay and Carlie de Murga, encountered travel restrictions while Patrick Strauss sustained an injury.

Filipino-German Gerrit Holtmann, Filipino-Swedish defender Jesper Neyholm and Filipino-Norwegian midfielder Lloyd Fagerlie failed to meet their requirements for a Filipino passport in time.

Raphael Obermair begged to be called up, while Niko de Vera has a family emergency.

Midfielders Kenshiro Daniels, Mike Ott and Quincy Kammeraad from the Azkals Development Team were called up at the last minute and came to the training camp in Doha, Qatar.

The men’s national soccer team will continue their campaign by completing the second round with games against Guam on June 3rd, China on June 9th and Maldives on June 15th.

Currently in third place the Philippines (2-1-2) overtake China (2-1-1) in Group A to advance to the third round of qualifying.

Syria is currently with 14 points and a 5-0-0- Record at the top of the group. –

Beatrice, better known as “Bee,” is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler covering Philippine sports administration, national teams, soccer and the UAAP.

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