From Karlo Sacamos
THE Philippine Football Federation has found hopefully the right man to guide the men’s national team to greater heights starting in this crucial year.
Thomas Dooley, a German-American mentor and former US national team skipper, has been named the new head coach of the Azkals, beating out five other high-profile candidates for the coveted position.
The development was confirmed by the Azkals’ official Twitter account, @PHI_Azkals, on Friday afternoon, ending weeks of speculation on the replacement of Michael Weiss.
“Very tough selection process, but quite confident that the selection of Thomas Dooley as Azkals coach will bring the team to another level,” Azkals manager Dan Palami posted on his own Twitter account, @dscpalami.
The 52-year-old Dooley has over two decades of playing experience under his belt, with most in the German Bundesliga.
But his most notable stint was with the US national team, for which he appeared in over 80 games and which he captained in the 1998 Fifa World Cup. He was also named US Soccer Athlete of the Year in 1993.
A Uefa-licensed soccer teacher, Dooley, though, last coached more than two years ago, when he was appointed as an assistant for the US national team in a match against Mexico.
He will now lead the Azkals in a series of friendlies, overseas training camps, and their most important tournament yet, the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in May when they vie for the lone ticket to the more prestigious AFC Asian Cup next year.