New Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – New Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley has revealed the four factors that he will consider when it comes to choosing the players for the national football team.
Dooley was formally introduced as the head coach of the Azkals last Friday and his first challenge with the squad is to prepare the team for the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives this May.
When asked what he kind of attitude he would require from his players, Dooley said there were “four things that I have to consider and evaluate.”
“No. 1 is, technically, you have to be good with the ball,” said the coach. “If you cannot handle the ball, then it’s difficult.”
“The second thing is, you have to understand what your role is in the game. For example, if I have a center-back who is always going up front and leaves the back, then I have to talk to him. ‘This is your position, and you have to play that role.’”
“He has to understand the tactical part.”
Dooley said a player’s attitude is also important.
“Everybody should come in and know that it’s a team,” he said, adding that he is looking for players who are willing to work hard for the team’s success.
“The last thing is, you have to be fit,” he said. “If you are not fit, you can’t play. It is impossible to play a professional game or in the national team if you are not fit.”
Dooley has only watched two Azkals games, but is planning to watch UFL games so can observe some of the national team players in action. He is also planning to contact some of the Azkals players who are based in Europe.
“I want to get in touch with them right now. I don’t want to waste any time,” said Dooley. “(They have to) understand how I want to play, and then they can think about already what kind of system we play, what the starting position is when we have the ball, or the starting position when we don’t have the ball.”
Dooley also stressed that it is important for the national team players to understand that they are representing the Philippines every time they step onto the pitch.
“They are representing the whole country,” he said. “And the fans in the Philippines are proud, and we can do a great job to make them happy. That’s what everybody has to understand, but that’s a lot of work.”