MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss says there is a need to balance expectations with reality when considering the future of the men’s national team and Philippine football in general.
“I see it now, in rising nations in football, often the expectations grow too fast with the small successes,” Weiss said in an interview with the AFF Suzuki Cup website.
“I know how to balance it out, because of course I want to be part of a success story, but I also know what it takes to really stabilize and bring a team for a longer period to a certain level. And that takes much more time,” he added.
Weiss said that for Philippine football to continue its development, “there needs to be a lot of education, there needs to be a lot of improvement from the infrastructure and the level of the facilities.”
He said that in Malaysia, he can see 10 pitches in a span of 10-kilometers. “In the Philippines, I have 10 pitches all over and in a very poor level,” Weiss added.
“The basic for training is not there,” he said. “We are working on the poorest conditions and making the best of the situation, but the expectations are already... like going to the World Cup.”
“So we have to balance that out. I have to be a bit more composed on that one. I have to work hard in the next three to five years, then we will see which way we can go,” Weiss added.
But Weiss emphasized that Philippine football has gone a long way since the Azkals first made a splash two years ago. This can be especially felt in the grassroots level.
“It is unbelievable what is happening here, especially in the grassroots level. The movement and the enthusiasm of the kids and the girls who really want to play football now,” he said.
Weiss said they are trying to “put everything in a good development program,” and revealed that they are negotiating with the German FA to bring a technical consultant to the Philippines.
The technical consultant will work with Weiss for four years to help in the development of football.
They also need local investors, Weiss said. “We are now in negotiations with really rich people and big companies to support these grassroots development programs for the next five to 10 years,” he said.
“Hopefully, we take everything one step at a time,” Weiss said. “That is the only realistic approach.”