The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) today unveiled former USA captain Thomas Dooley as the new coach of their national football team, succeeding Hans Michael Weiss.
The 52-year-old German-American was officially introduced at a press conference on Friday morning at the PFF House of Football in Pasig City by PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr.
“With his excellent credentials and passion to win, we are confident that he will rise to the challenge and do what is best for the team and he has our full support," Araneta declared.
Azkals team manager Dan Palami confirmed last week that Dooley would fly in to finalise contract talks, having been linked with the vacant post late last month.
This will be the ex-USA assistant coach's first stint as an international head coach and his first major challenge will be to guide the Azkals at the AFC Challenge Cup this May in Maldives.
"I’m very honored, humbled and excited to take this task,” he told the press. “The biggest, shortest goal we have is to win the Challenge Cup because this is an important task. I’m very excited to take this task, it may not be very easy but it’ll be worth it.”
Dooley is confident his lack of experience will not be a hindrance and also stated his intention to emphasise teamwork in the side under his charge. He will also run the rule over both players in the local United Football League and those plying their trade overseas.
"Technically they are pretty good, 90% of the players,” he said. “Tactically, I think we have to work a little bit. You don’t win championships with one single player, it always has to be a team effort. It doesn’t matter if you have the best player, you have to form a team to make it happen. That’s my biggest task to accomplish, that we have a team where everybody plays for everybody."
Dooley first represented the USA in 1992 after obtaining citizenship that year and went on to play in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, finishing his international career in 1999 with 81 caps and seven goals.
He will take his first training session with the Azkals next week before playing Malaysia in a friendly for his first game on March 1 in Kuala Lumpur. Another match against Azerbaijan in Dubai, UAE, follows four days later.
The draw for the Challenge Cup will be held on February 12 and the Philippines are in the mix along with Maldives, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Palestine, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The tournament will run from May 19 to 30 and the champions will earn a slot at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.