|By Khalis Rifhan
It was a fairytale two years ago when Philippines qualified for the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final, but the Azkals proved it was no fluke by doing the same this time round. Coach Hans Michael Weiss believes that its time for the players to make their presence felt in the region.
“Everybody must deliver [in their performance] and not just in words, they have to show actions on the field," said the German.
"They want to go to the final but if they don’t do anything about it, then you will be second best.
“We are facing an experienced team. Several players have won the Cup and they also have an experienced coach too, [they are] full of surprises.”
Weiss, known for his mind games with his choice of words added: “At this point in time, there is a small advantage to Singapore, being an experienced side but we are hungry to get into the final.”
Although they will be playing on an artificial turf, Weiss does not feel that his team will be of any disadvantage as they had been training on such pitches back in the Philippines.
“We are used to playing on this kind of pitch," he added.
"The weather back in Philippines, there are lots of rain and they are building more artificial pitch there. In the first ten to fifteen minutes we have to be very careful and be on our toes, to get the rhythm of the pitch, which is really very important.”
Weiss also revealed his desire to see the team through to the final but stressed upon the need to give their best and added that should the game go into penalty shootout, it will all boil down to their mental strength: “The ‘common target’ is to reach the final and for that we have to give one hundred percent and the kind of spirit we showed in the second half in Manila.”
“Together with the foreign professionals, the past years we found time to get together and it is a very competitive group now. With our play, it is difficult for any side to break us down.”
“I think the ones who tremble will tumble so you cannot simulate the match situation, such as penalty shootouts in the training, I don’t think so.”