FourFourTwo's Five Finds: Singapore show up for the fight
It's been a bad week for Philippines' AFF Suzuki Cup hopes
Coach Tom Dooley has a few extra stresses after the last few days. Last week, winger Patrick Reichelt was carried off the pitch in a Singapore League Cup game against Tampines Rovers. Team officials suspected it was serious and it proved so.
The Ceres La Salle star announced on social media that he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. “An ACL tear in my right knee means the end for this year but I will come back stronger in 2017,” the German-born player wrote.
He joins Simone Rota on the injured list. The defender will also miss the tournament in what is another blow for the team.
Even for those that are fit and healthy, there are issues. The Azkals had been due to play Turkmenistan at home in a friendly on September 2 but the visitors had injury issues of their own.
Instead, it left the Philippines to arrange a game in Kyrgyzstan instead – a journey that involves three flights over a span of 28 hours.
Short-term penalties but long-term gain for Singapore
The 3-1 defeat in Bahrain was disappointing for the way in which the Lions lost. Three penalties were conceded, one for reasons unknown and two for rash challenges in the box and perhaps certain defenders will think twice before lunging in during games that really matter.
There were some positives for coach V Sundramoorthy. The teams reacted well to falling behind and attacked the hosts. Bahrain is never an easy place to go but the Southeast Asians created chances and at time, passed the ball around with some composure and intent.
Its scoreline flattered the hosts but there was this was a performance full of fight and encouragement from the Lions. It has to be built upon and there are plenty of caveats but as defeats go, there were positives to be taken from Manama.
Indonesia involved in more international controversy
If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Just before Indonesia return to the international stage to take on Malaysia for the first game after the FIFA international ban, there were some intriguing developments coming out of the Middle-East.
The idea, however faint, of a talented Brazilian being able to play for the Merah Putih was enough to generate at least a little curiosity. Yet, the AFC has launched an investigation into how exactly Wanderley has acquired an Indonesian passport. The Indonesian government has said that it did not issue such a document to anyone of that name.
While it remains to be seen what happens, the striker is going to have bigger things to worry about than a possible call-up from Jakarta.
For the foreseeable future, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl is going to have to make do with the strikers that he has.
Thai ambitions can come into focus against Japan
There are a couple of emotions that Thailand and Japan share ahead of their big game in Bangkok in Tuesday and that is one of frustration and a desire to get things back on track as soon as possible.
Japan are angry about their 2-1 loss at home to the UAE and the fact that a legitimate goal was not given. Thailand are equally peeved about the late penalty that led to a 1-0 was in Saudi Arabia.
There should be a big crowd at the Rajamangala Stadium and the War Elephants will need all the support they can get.
If coach Zico can take Japan's frustration from the first game and lift it up a level with a disciplined defensive performance then there will be chances for Thailand. The Samurai Blue are not exactly known for their ruthlessness in front of goal. If the hosts keep their nerve, shape and cool, then it could be quite a night.
Malaysia: Misplaced priorities?
There has been quite a debate about who should be the next captain of the Malaysian national team. Safiq Rahim's sudden decision to quit from the international stage has not only deprived the side of one of the best midfielders in Southeast Asia, but has also cost coach Ong Kim Swee his skipper.
It was a fun and interesting debate, asking whether the new captain should be Baddrol Bakhtiar, Brendan Gan, Shahrom Kalam, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat or Amri Yahyah.
In the end the armband went to Amri Yahyah, a talented forward who has taken the role on occasion in the past.
Yet at the age of 35, the Johor Darul Ta'zim star is still one of the best around and has the ability to be around for a while. Yet he is obviously not a long-term answer.
In the end, it doesn't really matter. The identity of the captain is not that big a deal. On the list of things that need to be sorted in Malaysian football, this is way down.