MANILA – The Philippine national football team can afford to take the risk of changing head coaches even with just months to go before a major tournament, Azkals team manager Dan Palami said.
It was announced earlier this week that the Philippine Football Federation had terminated the services of head coach Michael Weiss, who coached the national team from 2011 and helped them reached new highs, including a best-ever ranking of 127th in the FIFA World Rankings.
“I think the Philippine Football Federation, in its leadership, felt that we have reached a plateau in so far how the Azkals have been playing,” Palami said on ANC’s “Hardball” Wednesday.
The change comes with just months to go before the Azkals compete in the AFC Challenge Cup in May, though Palami is confident that this is a risk they can afford to take, and pointed out that the national team has changed coaches on short notice before.
“Anything that involves change, well, it’s a bit of gamble,” he admitted. “But every time, we have to change. There has been a precedent when it comes to changing coaches right before a Challenge Cup preparation.”
“It also happened in 2011, when I brought in Coach Michael (replacing Simon McMenemy), and there was a Challenge Cup qualifier against Mongolia in February, so we had less time then,” he added.
“I think it’s a risk that we can afford to take.”
Palami expects to name a new head coach by February, and he believes the four-month window will be enough time for the team to adjust to the new coach and become competitive for the Challenge Cup.
“We felt that if we do have to make a change, then a five-month change will be enough for us to maybe to try out a new system. Maybe a new coach can bring a new spark into how the Azkals will be playing, and I’m sure if and when we get the new coach, he will really make a big difference with the Azkals,” he said.
Palami says they are considering five coaches to take the head coaching job, and he will fly to Dubai next week to conduct interviews.