BY BONG PEDRALVEZ
GOING for three wins and a draw in the eliminations.
This is the target of the national football team competing in the 26th Southeast Asian Games soccer tourney starting on Nov. 3 in Jakarta, Indonesia, which German coach Michael Weiss said should be enough to send his charges to the semifinals.
"If we get 10 points (on three wins and a draw) most likely we will qualify for the next round," Weiss said shortly before the Filipinos left for Gotemba, Japan last Monday for a weeklong training camp, the last phase of their intensive buildup for the regional meet.
The nationals open their campaign in Group B against defending champion Vietnam, a prospect that does not faze Weiss in the least.
"There is no aspect in playing against Vietnam," Weiss said. "Vietnam is one of the five opponents. We might lose 7-0 but still have a chance of (advancing). If we beat all the other teams then we are through."
He, however, cautioned local football fans not to pressure his wards by making predictions about their performance, saying: "We will take it one game at a time, one step at a time.
"There should be no speculations for gold, silver, finals, blah, blah, blah– that’s stupid," the German mentor said. "It’s just dreaming and nothing about the real football world, just too much dreaming.
"It will be one game at a time, one strategy for each game at a time."
He noted four his starters–Filipino-Spanish defender Carlos Alberto de Murga, Fil-Germans Roland Mueller and Manny Ott and Fil-Belgian Jeffrey Christaens–"will play under jet lag in the first game so that will be very difficult."
Other than the team’s tough opening match, Weiss said he liked the way their elimination game schedule worked out, giving them a three-day break before resuming action against Timor Leste, followed by the game against Laos on Nov. 11 before taking on an equally strong Myanmar squad two days later . The Philippines wraps up the preliminaries against Brunei on Nov. 15.