MANILA, Philippines – After their triumphant conquest of the Philippine Football Peace Cup, Philippine Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss sets his sights at the AFF Suzuki Cup which takes place this year end.
The Azkals defeated three “football crazy” nations to win the Peace Cup (also known as the Long Teng Cup) to win the Philippines’ first international tournament in 99 years.
Weiss said he hopes they could duplicate the success when they compete against stronger nations in the more prestigious Suzuki Cup.
“The Suzuki Cup, I think that would be the highlight and hopefully that would be the climax of this year,” said the German football coach following their 3-1 drubbing of Chinese Taipei.
He added that their strategy of keeping foreign-bred players in the Philippines is also starting to click for the Azkals.
Weiss said Filipino-foreign players like Jeff Christiaens, Denis Wolf and Patrick Reichelt are blending well with their teammates and this shows in their recent success in the Peace Cup.
“This group we have them 3 to 4 months together. The idea is to lure them away from their home countries, Christiaens, Wolf and Reichelt, just to mention these 3 and to build up a strong core in the Philippines for the ones who can’t be there in training, without mentioning names,” said the German coach.
“Does it make sense to bring professionals who are jetlagged all the way from Europe in a 20-hour flight here? Or do we only use them in real big games when we are sure that they’ll be 100%,” added Weiss.
He added that they were also able to develop some other players who are ready to take over in case some of their key members won’t be able to participate in the competitions.
“I think the main point is that we are not too much relying on individual players here. We have quality players in every position so we can easily change players and the ones who come in, they can make an impact, it wasn't like that in the past,” said Weiss.
Weiss also thanked team manager Dan Palami for his help in building the team.
Palami wasn't able to join the Azkals in the tournament to attend the funeral of a family member in Tacloban.