Cardiff City FC’s Neil Etheridge and Sepsi OSK’s Daisuke Sato are currently rushing their way to Bacolod right smack after the final whistles of their respective club campaigns to join the Azkals for the AFF SuzukiCup 2018 tournament.
And it seems the short turnaround time and physically taxing travel won’t be a problem as the two definitely look forward to participate, even in part, on the biggest stage in Southeast Asian international football competition.
Daisuke Sato who plays in the Romanian Liga I has just concluded an away fixture against Universitatea Craiova that ended in a 1-1 draw in the wee hours of Saturday morning, November 10 (GMT+8) and is travelling 9,896 kilometres (straight line distance, flight route and land route not considered) to Panaad Stadium where the Azkals are going to host the Singapore Lions on November 13 at 8:00PM.
Meanwhile, an even more crunching and longer travel is being undergone by Neil Etheridge who just concluded a match for Cardiff City FC against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League that kicked off Saturday November 10 evening 8:30PM (GMT +8).
What an AMAZING FEELING! Another 3 points on the board! The boys were great! Support was amazing throughout the game! And felt electric when we scored the winner! #cityasone #cardiffcityfc #bluebirds #win #football #goalkeeper #premierleague pic.twitter.com/esJ5VUPxlt
— Neil Etheridge (@Neil38Etheridge) November 10, 2018
Just mere hours after the final whistle of that massive win by The Bluebirds, he’s now (as of this writing) travelling 11, 394 kilometres (again straight line distance) to the same stadium to join the Azkals in time for the Suzuki Cup opener.
If both players arrive without any delays and are in tip-top shape despite their respective long, inter-continental journeys (depending on the coaching staff’s assessments), then they will definitely suit up on Tuesday evening, which would mean that it will be one of the strongest lineups to be mustered based on available players as The Azkals show how seriously they are taking this 2018 Suzuki Cup in a bid to reach the final and shatter their previous best ever semifinal finish.
Also, with either Etheridge and Sato’s travel or arrivals with the squad, these two remaining factors could be the signal that the Azkals management are now about to release the 23-man squad list that has been pending longer compared to the other participating teams.
As for these two top players, sports fans surely should admire the lengths that they are willing to go through just to don that national team kit and fulfil their duty in playing for the Philippines.