Six foreign coaches compete for Azkals post

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at Jan 14 2014 02:48 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2014 12:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Six candidates are being considered for the position of head coach of the Philippine men’s national team after the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) opted to release Michael Weiss from his contract.

“There are six candidates already,” Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami said. “Hopefully I get to interview them. I’m scheduling the interview, some in the Philippines and overseas.”

“Some (of the coaches) have playing experiences in Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool,” Palami added. “These are the coaches we are looking at right now.”

Weiss, who took over the Azkals in 2011, will be released from his contract by the PFF effective January 15 -- just four months before the national team competes in the AFC Challenge Cup in May.

Palami admits it will be a challenge for the team to blend well with a new coach in such a short period of time, although he is confident that the Philippines can still send a competitive team to the Challenge Cup.

“Four months is really short, and if we can have many local practices and if the coach has the ability to ensure that the foreign-based players immediately accept him, I think we stand a good chance,” he said.

When asked about the criteria for choosing the next head coach, Palami said the candidate should “be familiar with how the Asian setting is for football.”

“Of course, I need somebody that has a very good credential in coaching a national team or a high level club, and somebody who is ready to adjust to the conditions of the Philippines’ national team players, that are a mix of foreign and local-based,” he said.

“(The coach) has to work and accept that he can be ready to adjust with a pure local-based team and a team that can be a mix of local and foreign players,” he added.

Azkals assistant coach Edwin Cabalida is currently handling the team’s practices, while the search for the new head coach is ongoing.