Azkals up close: Getting to know Coach Weiss

by Trina Lagura,

Posted at Jun 19 2011 01:11 AM | Updated as of Jun 20 2011 06:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Azkals German coach Michael Weiss said football is not just mere sport. For him, football is a challenge.

“We have to combine so many, many things and put them together. It is very interesting and challenging,” said Weiss in an exclusive interview with

“It looks easy but you imagine how many pieces of puzzles you have to bring together to have a very good team.”

Football demands not just physical endurance, he said, but also strength of mind. “In Germany, they call the mind the ‘third leg,’” said Weiss.

The interplay of these factors in each game makes the sport thrilling and exciting for Weiss.

It’s no wonder that the German coach stuck with football ever since he had his first training in the sport at a tender age of 8.

Weiss, who was described by German football officials as a highly knowledgeable and experienced coach, took over the Azkals coaching job early this year.

He was tasked to transform the Azkals from a defensive-minded team to an attacking squad.

When asked about the Philippine Azkals' chances in reaching the FIFA World Cup, he was careful not to give false hopes.

What he could assure though is that he and his players are very confident in their upcoming clash with Sri Lanka at the end of this month.

Below are some tidbits about the German coach:

Personal Information

Name: Hans Michael Weiss
Age: 46
Birthplace: Germany
Birthday: March 11, 1965
Position in the Azkals team: Head coach
Start of football career: 8 years old
Educational background: Bachelor's degree in Sports Science and Management at the University of Mainz
Team coached before the Azkals:

Kyoto Purple Sanga (Asst. Coach)
China U-20 (Asst. Coach)
Rwanda U-17 (Head Coach)


Favorite athlete?
Roger Federer is the one I admire very, very much. Roger Federer, he’s like the super athlete for me, combining athleticism and elegance and all these requirements for professional sports. Wonderful athlete, and then the elegance especially, and the feeling for the game, fantastic.

How did you get into this sport, football?
I was 8 years old. Somebody took me to training and then I tried, I tried. And then from 8 years on I played until 32 years old and then I get into coaching.

I was 32 years old and I had a job in Japan in high school as a coach. I took the opportunity to leave Germany and then 2 years went back to Germany and then again 3 years in Japan. All together, 5 years in Japan. I like Japan very much.

Leagues you played in?
I played professional leagues in Germany for about 7 to 8 years and at the same time I was getting my masters in physical education and sports science. And yeah, this is how I could make a good living and then I went, at the age of 32, I started coaching. Until this day, 14 years now, long time.

Most memorable game as a coach?
The most memorable game was in 2003 when we played with Kyoto Purple Sanga in the Empress Cup final in Japan and we beat the Kashima Antlers, one of the tough teams in Japan and sensationally we beat them, 80,000 people in the stadium in Tokyo. That was very impressive.

What made you decide to join Azkals?
I was one of the frontrunners for the job… they decided that I would be the man who most possibly would be able to bring the Azkals to the next level. That is why they bring me in.


Starting June 15, will feature several members of the Philippine National football team to give local football fans a chance to get to know better their favorite Azkals players.

ABS-CBN Sports will be airing live the home and away FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Philippine Azkals and Sri Lanka on June 29 and July 23.