MANILA, Philippines - If Azkals goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño would have his way, he would prefer that German coach Michael Weiss, whose two-year contract expires this month, to continue handling the team as they strive to sustain their progress under a familiar system.
"Sa aking opinyon, favor ako na i-extend siya kasi yung sistema ng game, style niya, alam na, nagkakaintindihan na. So sana mabigyan siya uli ng pagkakataon na makapag-coach uli sa national team (I'm in favor of giving him an extension because we're already familiar with his system and style. I hope he gets a chance to continue coaching the Azkals)," Sacapaño said in an interview on Sports Radio.
Azkals management and the Philippine Football Federation have yet to make a final decision on Weiss' status but early indications point to extending the services of the German, under whom PH achieved a bronze medal in the AFC Challenge Cup, a rare title in the PH Peace Cup, and a repeat semifinal stint in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
It's also under Weiss that Sacapaño came into his own. Thrust into the limelight with Etheridge and Roland Muller both unavailable, Sacapaño made his presence felt and dished out three clean sheets in their 2012 Suzuki Cup semis run.
"Nung 2012, medyo maganda ang performance ko, napakita ko ang capability ko na maglaro. Sana this year mas mahigitan ko pa, madala pa uli ang team sa panalo (2012 was quite good, I was able to show my capabilities as a goalkeeper. Hopefully this year I can do better, lead the team to more victories)," said Sacapaño.
The 32-year-old Armyman promised to work harder to improve his game and be at his best when he's called up to start in lieu of the absent Etheridge again.
"I-improve ko pa rin yung communication sa depensa ko, yung pag-organize ng team (I will also improve on my communicating skills so I can organize the defense better)," said Sacapaño.
He also wishes the Azkals would get a goalkeeping coach.
"Pag nag-training kami, ako ang nagdadala ng programa sa training, although nag-a-assist si coach Edsel Bracamante, hindi naman siya dating goalkeeper. Mahirap talaga pag walang goalkeeping coach na tumututok sa amin sa training (It's hard to train without a goalkeeping coach who will provide a training program and supervise it. Coach Edsel Bracamonte is helping me but he's not really a goalkeeper during his playing days)," he said.
The Azkals will next compete in the AFC Challenge Cup Group E qualifiers that Phl is hosting in March at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Their aim is to top the group also composed of 2012 runner-up Turkmenistan, Cambodia and Brunei, to get an outright berth to the Challenge Cup's final round in 2014.