Eriksson’s hiring flushes out new prospects
New Philippines coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will arrive in Manila only on Friday, but the impact of his hiring has already been felt with players with Filipino lineage expressing interest to be part of the Azkals in future tournaments, particularly the AFC Asian Cup in January.
Since Eriksson’s hiring was announced, Azkals manager Dan Palami had noted a spike in interest from prospects from all over the world to suit up for the country.
Palami said the Azkals management’s priority is to convince the Bundesliga player Gerrit Holtmann of FSV Mainz 05 and former Bayern Munich player Raphael Obermair to suit up for the team in the Asian Cup.
Swiss leftback Michael Kempter, a former Switzerland Under-20 player and Swedish prospect Jesper Nyholm, who both have Filipino mothers, are also being eyed.
Holtmann has played for the German Under-20 team.
“With his (Eriksson’s) entry, I’ve had messages from more players who are interested in playing for the team,” said Palami.
“There were other Filipino players playing in higher divisions in Spain as well as South America. We will be looking at their documents and make a decision. I think players are excited to be under the tutelage of somebody who has coached somebody like David Beckham and champion clubs in Europe.”
Palami was backed by M-Sports of Melchor Miras, the current Azkals advertising manager, in going after a high-caliber coach like Eriksson.
Eriksson has 10 days to prepare the Azkals before their AFF Suzuki Cup opener against Singapore in Bacolod.
“Others are saying that he (Sven) should’ve come earlier, but I’m not too worried with that,” said Palami. The style of Scott and Sven is complimentary.”