Three sides are set to make their debuts at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. Ahead of the big kick-off on the 5th of January, we have decided to profile the new boys to see just how far they can progress in the tournament. You can subscribe now to our 2019 AFC Asian Cup UAE package and receive a 20% discount if you order now.
Nickname – Azkals (Street Dogs)
Manager - Sven-Göran Eriksson
The Philippines sealed progression to a first-ever AFC Asian Cup after winning Group F in the second round of qualification to the tournament. The Azkals remained undefeated in qualification for the tournament picking up decisive victories over the likes of Nepal & Tajikistan.
The South East Asian nation turned to experienced Swedish coach Sven-Göran Eriksson who has signed a sixth-month deal to guide the Philippines through the AFF Suzuki Cup & AFC Asian Cup.
The former England boss is no stranger to international tournaments having guided the likes of the Three Lions & The Ivory Coast to the World Cup. Whilst at club level, Eriksson has managed some of the biggest sides in China including Guangzhou R&F & Shanghai SIPG.
Player to watch
Veteran striker Phil Younghusband is the most capped player in the side and is the leading goalscorer for the Philipines. The English born attacker scored five goals in qualification and will be relishing the chance to lead his country out at their maiden AFC Asian Cup.
Nickname – Al-Shayateen Al-Homr (The Red Devils)
Manager - Ján Kocian
Yemen booked their place at UAE 2019, and their first ever AFC Asian Cup appearance as Yemen, after finishing runners-up in Group F behind The Phillippines. A 2-1 victory against Nepal in Doha sealed the West Asians place in second place and was greeted with wild celebrations at full-time. Just like the Philippines, Yemen remained undefeated during the third round of qualification.
After parting ways with Abraham Mebratu, the coach that guided them to the Asian Cup. Yemen have turned to Slovakian coach Ján Kocian for their first major international tournament. The 60-year old has enjoyed a nomadic career, taking in stints in Poland, Hong Kong, Germany and a period of managing his native Slovakia.
Player to Watch
Ala Al-Sasi is expected to lead the line for Yemen in the UAE, and the pressure will be on for the 31-year old to deliver for his country. Al-Sasi currently plays his club football with Al Sailiya in the Qatar Stars League, however, he has found his chances limited in the side. It’s a different story on the international stage with the number nine was ever present during the qualification campaign, and came up with a vital goal in the 2-1 victory over Tajikistan.
Nickname – The White Falcons
Manager - Aleksandr Krestinin
Kyrgyzstan sealed a first-ever Asian Cup appearance after finishing second in Group A behind India in the third round of qualification. Victories of Macau, Myanmar & a final matchday 2-1 win over India booked The White Falcons place in the UAE.
Russian coach Aleksandr Krestinin has been a charge of the Kyrgyzstan national side since October 2014 and has overseen an upturn in fortunes for the Central Asian nation. After initially starting his career with Kyrgyz side Neftchi Kochkor-Ata he attracted the attention of the national team and has not looked back since. In June 2017, Krestinin was appointed the manager of FC Dordoi Bishkek and led them to the Kyrgyz league title.
Anton Zemlianukhin is the all-time leading goalscorer for Kyrgyzstan with just 12 goals for his country. However, six of those goals came in qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup with the 29-year old having hand in winning the final three qualification games to progress to their first major tournament. Zemlianukhin has played club football in Kazakhstan, Thailand, Serbia and Turkey and could yet seal yet another foreign move should he impress at the Asian Cup.