Azkals coach Thomas Dooley watches a UFC match. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – New Azkals team coach Thomas Dooley said he can handle the pressure despite the Azkals' lack of preparation time for the AFC Challenge Cup in May.
Dooley said pressure is a positive thing for him.
“Of course I have pressure too but the pressure is actually positive, I receive pressure in a positive way,” said the former US team skipper.
Dooley, a two-time World Cup player, was recently hired by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) to take over the coaching reins of the Philippine national team.
He signed a one-year contract, with the understanding that he is expected to lead the Azkals to victory in the Challenge Cup.
“I always be a positive thinking person. So for me it's like ‘how nice is it to win the Challenge Cup,’ how much can we make the people happy here in the Philippines and how much can we gain out of it the whole soccer community,” said the 52-year-old German-American.
Dooley said his primary goal is to form a team that will win the Cup.
The winner of the Cup will qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup, which will take place in Australia.
“That's the task that I would like to accomplish to form, that we have a team that plays for everybody. I'm thinking of the Challenge Cup at the moment. I don't think about the Asian Cup,” he said.
As a player, Dooley won the 1990-91 Budesliga title while playing for Kaiserslautern. He was also part of the Schalke 04 that won the UEFA Cup in the 1996-97 season.
He coached the German lower-division side Saarbrucken and was also part of the coaching staff of US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann in 2011.
“The task at hand is for us to win the Challenge Cup... of course with the entry of coach Thomas I think the chances have gotten better,” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
PFF president Nonong Araneta, for his part, said he hopes they can get a winning partnership with Dooley.
“He's gonna be here at least for a year. He’s gonna coach the Challenge Cup team and hopefully the Suzuki Cup team. If we win the Challenge Cup, then all the way to Sydney for the Asian Cup,” said Araneta.