Azkals keen on keeping WeissBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
All signs seem to point to German coach Michael Weiss staying on at the helm of the national side.
The only question that remains is for how long.
Azkals manager Dan Palami told the Inquirer that the German, whose two-year contract expires Jan. 15, will be asked to continue his work with the national team.
But Palami said the length of Weiss’ extension will depend on the Philippine Football Federation, which will discuss the matter on the first week of January.
“It will not only be my decision but also the PFF’s,” said Palami, referring to the contract that will be extended to Weiss.
“What’s important is we make the decision so we can start preparations for the (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers as soon as possible.”
The Challenge Cup qualifiers where the Azkals are grouped with Turkmenistan, Brunei and Cambodia are slated in March at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Weiss, who is on vacation in Japan, is actually setting his sights on taking the Azkals to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, using the Challenge Cup as a stepping stone to qualify for the prestigious quadrennial tournament.
“We have to look at the bigger picture and that is the Asian Cup,” said Weiss.
Palami had expressed satisfaction on the Azkals’ results under Weiss, who succeeded British coach Simon McMenemy.
With a lineup boosted by several Europe-based professionals, Weiss took the Azkals from pre-qualifying in the AFC Challenge Cup all the way to the semifinals and an eventual third place finish—the highest ranking the country has achieved in the tournament for emerging Asian football nations.
The Azkals also captured the first international football title of the country in 99 years with their triumph in the Philippine Football Peace Cup.
Early this month, Weiss steered the souped-up Azkals to another semifinal finish in the AFF Suzuki Cup, barely missing out on a shot at the title after bowing to eventual champion Singapore in the last four.