Azkals to hire new coach to replace Weiss

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 12 2014 09:11 AM | Updated as of Jan 12 2014 05:11 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals will likely embark on their mission in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup and Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup with a new coach at the helm as German mentor Michael Weiss is reportedly on his way out.

Weiss is contracted until end of March but a source said the contract will be terminated effective Jan. 15, giving the team management a free hand to choose who will call the shots for the Azkals.

Talks about Weiss’ supposed departure exploded on social media yesterday. The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) was mum on the issue.

It should be noted, however, that as early as December, team manager Dan Palami had said they were “evaluating” members of the coaching staff as they planned their programs for 2014.

The source said an announcement from the PFF will be made soon.

The looming coaching change comes at a time the Azkals will be competing in two major international tourneys – the Asian Cup-qualifying Challenge Cup in Maldives in May and the Suzuki Cup in November.

Weiss joined the Azkals in January 2011 and got an extension last year, helping the squad reach new heights in the international scene and enjoy growing popularity in the country.

Under the 48-year-old German, the Azkals won the bronze medal in the AFC Challenge Cup in 2012, made it to the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup the same year, and reached the second round of the Fifa World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Pinoy booters also gained their highest standing in the Fifa world rankings at 127th and first among Asians, boosted by their overseas camps and friendlies.

Weiss wasn’t as successful when he coached the U-23 team in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, where Phl couldn’t get past the group stages.