Weiss sticking it out with PH booters beyond BangkokBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BANGKOK—Instrumental in propelling the national side to greater heights the past two years, coach Michael Weiss still sees himself piloting the Azkals for years to come with the 2015 AFC Asian Cup as the ultimate target.
Weiss’ two-year contract ends in January and initial talks regarding an extension have been conducted with manager Dan Palami, who earlier said that the AFF Suzuki Cup here should be the litmus test for the German mentor.
Riding the momentum of a stirring run in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup in Vietnam, Weiss took over and helped the Azkals reach unprecedented success with a third-place finish in the AFC Challenge Cup early this year and the title in the Philippine Football Peace Cup—the country’s first international crown in close to a decade.
The Azkals also achieved an all-time high of No. 143 in the recent Fifa rankings after a run of good results.
Weiss is confident that his achievements will give him more time to handle the improving Azkals.
“I think I have done a fantastic job,” said Weiss, whose squad was scheduled to open its campaign against host and favorite Thailand at the 80,000-seater Rajamangala National Stadium here.
Weiss has one believer in compatriot Winfried Schaefer, a multititled coach with plenty of experience, who now handles the Thai national team.
“Listen to your coach,” the 62-year-old Schaefer told Filipino reporters when asked about his advice to the national team. “Give him time and I think the Philippines can go step by step better.”
Weiss said the plan is to put the Azkals’ success in a stable basis, even as he stressed the importance of veterans like Rob Gier and Jerry Lucena to the success of the side going forward.
“For me there is no old or young players only good and bad players,” said Weiss. “Players like Gier and Lucena may be veterans but they are still important to the team in the future. We should see the Philippines as a stabilized country in the region where football is evolving very fast.”