The Men’s Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup 2019 is set to start in Biñan, Laguna tomorrow in an event seen as an important warm-up for countries competing in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later this year with the hosts Philippines hoping to spring a major surprise.
The event, due to be held at the Alonte Sports Arena and conclude on Saturday (July 12), will be the first major floorball event to be held in the country.
Eight teams have been divided into two groups of four by the organisers Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation.
Group A contains Pakistan, making their international floorball debut.
Their opponents will include Thailand, the highest-ranked team in the tournament.
They are currently 14th in the International Floorball Federation (IFF) world rankings.
Also in the group are South Korea, ranked 21st, and Malaysia, 25th.
Group B is led by Singapore and Japan, ranked 16th and 17th respectively in the IFF rankings.
The hosts, the Philippines, ranked 35th, and India, 37th, complete the Group.
The Philippines, though, have been beefing up its national team by recruiting Filipino-foreigners from Sweden, where the sport originated.
The national team is also being mentored by Noel Johansson, a Filipino adopted by Swedish parents.
"We have Swedish-Filippino players, half-Filipino players, nine players from Sweden helping the team, so it will be good preparation for the SEA Games," the Philippines team manager Peter Eriksson - a Swede - said.
It is the second time the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup has been held.
The first event, in Bangkok in 2017, was won by Thailand.
They beat Singapore 8-4 in the final.
Floorball is due to appear on the programme of the SEA Games for a second time in the Philippines.
It had made its debut at the SEA Games in Singapore in 2015 when the hosts won both the men and women's tournament.
The SEA Games is due to be held in the Philippines from November 30 to December 11.