MANILA (9 Jan 2011) – Philippines are preparing for their first SEA Games football team since 2005 following the euphoric performance of the national team at the AFF Suzuki Cup last month.
The Fili football team last took part at the SEA Games – which is for players under the age of 23-years-old – in 2005 when they were hosts. But with only a handful of players available under the age restriction, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will have to carry out try outs to find new talents.
Only six players will be available for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia and they are 20-year-old custodian Neil Etheridge, Jason de Jong, Manny Ott, Mark Drinkuth and University of Santo Tomas standout David Basa. National team manager Dan Palami said that they will have to form a new team for the biennial meet.
“We are still to decide who will make up the team although the six players will form the core of the team,” said Palami. In the meantime, Palami said that the PFF will not extend the contract of British coach Simon McMenemy which expired on 31 December 2010.
“We have had discussion with Simon before, especially as he has yet to get his license (UEFA coaching license) for the different tournaments that we’re going to participate in this coming year,” explained Palami.
“While he (McMenemy) is doing that (acquiring the UEFA certificate), the German federation came in and offered their assistance, included in the package would be a high-level German coach that they would want the Philippines to take.”
The 45-year-old Hans Michael Weiss will replace McMenemy.
“He (Weiss) is highly-experienced and knowledgeable and he has a UEFA license. This ushers in a new era for the Azkals and will certainly give us better results,” said Palami.
Palami added that the German Football Federation (DFB) made the offer after seeing the Azkals’ performance in the recent Suzuki Cup.
“They’re willing to coach the Azkals in their training camps in Germany and they’re willing to do the scouting for potential players for the national team all over Europe. And they’re doing it for free. They are willing to send over the team to a European camp so that we could strengthen further our chances,” he said.