MANILA, Philippines – Absent from previous tournaments due to club commitment and injuries, Azkals striker JavierPatiao looks forward to donning the Philippine jersey again as they vie in the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
“I really want to play for the Philippines,” Patiao, who last saw action in the Azkals’ 0-1 loss to Azerbaijan in a friendly last year, said in an article on the Fifa website.
The Fil-Spanish is set for his comeback game for Phl XI on June 11 against Bahrain at the Philippine Sports Stadium.
“This game is special. It’s my first World Cup qualifying game and it should be a wonderful experience,”said the27-year-old Patiao, also in the 23-man roster for the next match against Yemen on June 16 at Qatar Sports Club in Doha.
Patiao, who scored five goals in 10 outings in his debut season with Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League, is expected to fill in the Azkals’ need for more accurate finishing.
“He is the player we desperately need. We can create chances but we are found lacking in finishing ability. Patiao is, though, a striker who knows where to be and how to finish. He is a typical one-touch player in the box,” coach Thomas Dooley told Fifa.com.
Sportshub ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Dooley intends to utilize Patiao at the No. 9 position.
“Our No. 9 has to be dangerous, but most importantly he has to score goals when he gets a chance. Patiao is the one who can give us that. I’m excited to have him for the qualifier,”said the former US World Cup team captain.