With an oversupply of talents, American coach Thomas Dooley is now having a problem on who will make up the Philippine Azkals for the coming AFC President’s Cup in Maldives.
Dooley said that everyone who played since he took charge had followed their roles to the letter and all have good chances of making it to the team.
“I mean everybody is playing good so I like what I’m seeing,” said Dooley. “And in the end, I have to find out in the camp who is the best player and who should play, and I will make mistakes and maybe sometimes I will put the wrong player in but that is part of the job.”
Dooley has brought fresh faces to compete for spots in the Challenge Cup, mostly players from the United Football League, and so far the results have been positive.
Several UFL players like Curt Dizon, Daisuke Sato, Kenshiro Daniels and goalkeeper Patrick Deyto have made an impression, particularly Deyto whose save preserved the Azkals’ scoreless tie against Malaysia in Cebu City last Sunday.
“It’s great that Patrick has been playing well and it is making it difficult for the other players to get in front of them and it’s a great challenge and it motivates every single player and I think that’s good for the team,” said Dooley.
The Azkals are set to leave next week for a training camp in Bahrain before heading to Maldives for the Challenge Cup set for May 19 to 30.
Bracketed in Group B, the national side will face Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Laos with the top team earning spots in the crossover semifinals.
Expected to join the team for the camp and in the Challenge Cup are European-based players Stephan Schrock, Neil Etheridge, Dennis Cagara and Rob Gier.
“I’m confident that we can play a good game against those teams in the Challenge Cup, and I can’t say we are ahead up front or they are the favorites, we just take it every game,” said Dooley.
“We don’t play like Spain, we don’t play like Argentina, we don’t play like Germany so we play teams that we can beat. But in the end, it’s who wants it most that will come out with the victory.”