MANILA, Philippines – Philippine football team coach Michael Weiss is looking forward to putting the Azkals in a tighter leash when they undergo a two-week camp in Germany starting Monday.
“We will not put them into prison, but we will have control over them,” Weiss said Tuesday night before leaving for Germany to make the necessary preparations for the camp in Duren, a city near the Dutch border three hours away from Frankfurt.
“We need to control if we want to get to the next level. They can’t do strange stuff in Germany. They are young players, and there will always be temptations in a city like Manila.”
Weiss earlier rued the lack of focus of the team in Manila, where several players have been pre-occupied with a myriad of non-football related activities.
But Weiss believes his team’s mindset is where it should be now three weeks before the 2014 Fifa World Cup Qualifying first round match against Sri Lanka.
Weiss said the training in Germany would be enough to address chinks in the Azkals’ armor that were exposed in the 3-4 exhibition loss to a United Football League side last Sunday.
“There’s no reason to make a drama out of it,” he said, referring to the loss. “We know we have a long way to go.”
“We lack the compactness in midfield but with the players that we will have in camp, I’m sure we will solve our problems,” said the German coach, who expected Fil-Dutch midfielder Paul Mulders to make an immediate impact in the team.
The 30-year-old Mulders, who will see action for ADO Den Haag in the Dutch first division, honed his skills at Ajax, which is known for developing the Netherlands top players like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart.
The Azkals, who leave for Germany on Sunday, will close camp in Manila today, before launching their fund-raising “We Believe” campaign at the Trinoma Activity Center on Friday.
Linking up with the squad in Germany are Europe-based standouts Ray Jonnson, Manny Ott, Rob Gier, Stephan Schrock, Angel Aldeguer Guirado, Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara.
“We are now at 65 percent,” Weiss said. “We have to grow together. It will be a tough challenge to play strong teams in Germany and I beg for understanding if we lose there but it will help us to progress.”
Weiss is confident of overcoming Sri Lanka with the squad that he has now, which has been considered as the strongest assembled in years.
“But the cohesion must be good,” he added.