When Michael Weiss enters a room, he is immediately the centre of attention. And it is not just because the 47-year-old German coach a big man with a deep voice. Simply put, Weiss is a commanding and self-confident figure who leads from the front and inspires his followers.
This is especially true in his current role in charge of the Philippines, where seemingly he can do no wrong. Indeed, under his guidance, the Azkals have been scaling hitherto unknown heights.
His operating base is Manila, but news of the latest upswing in the national team's fortunes under his stewardship has spread way beyond the city limits of the sprawling metropolis. The Azkals, which loosely translates as ‘street dogs’ and is the team’s affectionate nickname, have been making headlines around the world after claiming a stunning third place at the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal.
“Winning bronze was the greatest success in the history of the association. The players have made themselves immortal," Weiss told FIFA.com, his voice ringing with passion and pride. “Before the tournament, no-one really took us that seriously, but now we sense plenty of respect. The time has come to aim for the next step, and strive for the levels of the teams in the Middle East, the challengers to the really big names in our region. Later on, we can even aim to match Japan, Australia and South Korea."