Michael Weiss stays upbeat despite Azkals’ latest loss
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Azkals coach Michael Weiss doesn’t see any cause for alarm following the 1-3 defeat of the Azkals-Alyansa to Spanish Tercera division side CF Internacional de Madrid in a charity match Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
It was the second straight loss for the Azkals, who also absorbed a 1-6 whipping from the Los Angeles Galaxy last December in another exhibition game.
The AFC Challenge Cup is two months away and Weiss, who watched the game from the grandstand, said he still has enough time to whip the side into the best possible form for the eight-nation tournament that stakes a spot in the 2015 Asian Cup.
The Azkals will face North Korea, Tajikistan and India in the March 9 to 13 Challenge Cup in Kathmandu, Nepal.
While Weiss was not impressed by the performance of the Azkals, particularly in the opening half, the German mentor said it was understandable against the Spanish team “that has been growing the past three years as the best footballing country in the world.”
The match dubbed “Dili Kamo Nag-Iisa” was for the benefit of victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong.” The charity game reportedly raised P2 million, including the 10,000 euros that was turned over by CF Madrid to the Philippine National Red Cross.
James Younghusband averted a shutout with a solid header in the 62nd minute off a cross from Chieffy Caligdong—a goal that Weiss said only shows the tremendous spirit within the team.
“It was a good result, a good reflection of where we stand,” Weiss said. “It only meant we have a lot of work to do.”
The Azkals begin their preparations for the Challenge Cup on Tuesday and Weiss stressed the importance of having the players based in the country train together.
Defender Rob Gier is also arriving on Tuesday but Weiss said he is still unsure if Chris Greatwich is willing to join the team.
Weiss also revealed that Dennis Wolf, an experienced Fil-German midfielder, has expressed his desire to join the squad.