New Azkals coach faces first big test
Sven-Goran Eriksson has coached in three editions of the World Cup, won league titles in his native Sweden, Portugal and Italy, but the opportunity to handle an Asian national team on the rise in Asia lured him to take the job with the Philippine Azkals.
“It’s different here, but there’s a great opportunity for development,” said the 70-year-old Swede as he was formally unveiled as the coach of the national side beginning with the AFF (Asean Football Federation) Suzuki Cup next week.
“I asked myself, why not do something a little bit different than what I have done before? Coming here working with the team for the AFF Suzuki Cup and Asian Cup, I said to myself that’s why Im here and I’m happy to be here. The players are dedicated and they work hard.”
Eriksson brings with him impressive credentials as he takes charge of the Azkals, who are looking for their first major trophy in the Suzuki Cup.
“The first goal is to reach the finals of the Suzuki Cup,” said Eriksson, whose team will face Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand and Indonesia in Group B.
The Swede is no stranger to the pressure, having handled England in the 2006 World Cup when the Three Lions had David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in their squad.
“There’s pressure in every job, but if you don’t embrace that pressure, you have no business coaching in football,” said Eriksson.
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