New Philippine Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – The Philippine national football team has started preparing for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, and the members of the 34-man training pool are working to impress new Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley.
“It went well, a lot of players here wanting to impress. It’s great,” said Azkals mainstay James Younghusband.
Both James and Phil Younghusband as well as former national team skipper Aly Borromeo had good words about Dooley, who replaced German coach Michael Weiss earlier this month.
“He’s been very transparent with the group,” said James. “We had lunch before training, and he gave us a PowerPoint presentation to explain his plan, so it’s good that he has a plan.”
“He just wants us to play simple football, which is good, because it’s something that I was taught as a young boy when I was training in the UK. Simplicity is genius, and all the best players in the world keep it simple,” he added.
Phil said the national team players were excited to begin working with Dooley. “Mabait siya, and alam niya, he has the knowledge and he knows what he’s talking about,” he said. “He knows what he wants and he knows how he wants the team to play.”
Borromeo, back in the training pool after recovering from an injury, said Dooley got along well with the players.
“Ang okay sa kaniya, he knows what to do right away with the team,” said Borromeo. “(He wants an) attacking style of play, he wants to win the ball back in four or five seconds. So there’s already that technique that you have, so it’s good.”
“He’s got good vision for the Challenge Cup, and we’re all excited,” he added.
Dooley, for his part, has stressed that preparing for the Challenge Cup will be a step-by-step process, and expects that it will take a few training sessions before the Azkals adjust to his training style as well as the new drills that he introduced to the team.
“It takes a while so there will be some mistakes,” he said.
The Azkals will play Afghanistan, Laos and Turkmenistan in the group round of the AFC Challenge Cup in May. Prior to the tournament, they will play friendlies against Malaysia and Azerbaijan. -- From a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News.