MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami is satisfied with how the national team has performed so far under the helm of new coach Thomas Dooley.
In Dooley’s first two matches as head coach, the Azkals held a full-strength Malaysian squad to a goalless draw and then lost to a higher-ranked Azerbaijan team, 0-1, in FIFA-sanctioned friendlies earlier this month.
“I’m quite pleased with how the players have responded to the coach,” Palami said in an interview with the team website. “I’m sure this will be exciting times for the Azkals.”
Palami also noted that the Azkals have been playing an attractive style of football even though they have only had six training sessions with Dooley, who took over the team last month.
“We have been able to play the kind of football we have wanted to play but never had a chance to,” said Palami.
“We have been able to extricate ourselves by good passing when we are being pressed by the opposition,” he added. “What’s more important is we have shown to everybody that we can play this kind of football.”
He also praised Dooley, saying the new coach has “acquitted himself well so far as the expectations on how he should be coaching the team is concerned.”
“As long as (fans’) expectations are realistic, then this will serve as a challenge for us, the coaching staff, and the players to do better, to even improve in our games,” added Palami. “What I have seen so far is we are on our way to becoming a better team.”
The two friendlies served to kickstart the Azkals’ preparation for the AFC Challenge Cup in May in Maldives.