Azkals new coach Thomas Dooley (R) with German consultant Thomas Roy (L) observed the UFL games held at the Emperador Stadium on Tuesday. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – New Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley hopes the Philippine men’s national football team can emulate some of the world’s best squads but understands that it will take a lot of work before they can join those ranks.
Dooley was introduced to the media as the Philippine Azkals’ new head coach last week, formally replacing German Michael Weiss.
When asked what particular teams he would like the Azkals to emulate, Dooley answered: “Barcelona, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, all the best teams in the world.”
“You know what they do? They play simple. They play simple soccer,” said Dooley. “But you have to be technically good.”
“You see those teams – they are perfect in the basics of the game, the fundamentals of the game,” he added. “That’s what we have to make perfect.”
Dooley said one of the things players will have to learn is that they do not need to execute a difficult move when a simple one will do.
“Sometimes, the players make it too difficult,” he observed. “If I’m passing you the ball and I have to spin the ball, I have to play with the outside of the foot and I make it difficult for you to receive it. Why not play the ball on the inside?”
“You can see that sometimes, they want to chip the ball, they want to be outstanding. You’ll be outstanding when you don’t lose the ball, and that’s how simple it is,” he added.
Since he came to the Philippines, Dooley has been a fixture at United Football League (UFL) games, where he gets to see some of the national team players in action.
“My idea is to play a 4-2-3-1 system,” he said during a press conference last week, at which point he had seen only two Azkals game on video. “I can see from those two games that the initial skill of every single player is good.”
“Technically they are pretty good, but tactically, we have to work a little bit,” he said. “Like I always said, you don’t win championships with one single player. It always has to be a team.”
Dooley's first task with the Azkals is to prepare the squad for the AFC Challenge Cup, which will be held in Maldives in May.