Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami has already prepared a list of candidates in the event the Philippine Football Federation formally terminates the contract of national team coach Michael Weiss.
Palami said he already has six coaches on his wish list once the PFF issues the pink slip on the German-born Weiss, whose three-year stint was marked by the rise of the Azkals in the international football scene.
“If the PFF indeed shortens the tenure of Michael Weiss and I think the direction is going towards that, then I have to be prepared for the decision that will be forthcoming,” Palami told reporters yesterday during the launch of a grassroots partnership between the Azkals, Total Football Japan and SM Mall of Asia.
“Actually, several candidates are in the process of being shortlisted and if ever the confirmation by the PFF has been made then we can immediately proceed to the selection of the new coach.”
Palami did not indicate why Weiss’ contract will be terminated but rumors have it that PFF appears disappointed with the current form of the team.
Though Palami remained tight-lipped regarding the names of candidates he said some of them are based in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and Germany and have played for Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Rumors circulated last Saturday that Weiss’ contract will be terminated on Jan. 15 despite leading the Azkals to a pair of semifinal appearances in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup and 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Weiss, whose one-year extension expires in March, also guided the Azkals to the highest-ranked football nation in Southeast Asia but not even those accomplishments could prevent speculations of him being replaced by a big-name coach.
“For us the question now is now that the stakes are really high, are we ready to take on somebody who might be able to bring us higher? So it’s a gamble, it’s a chance that has to be taken and for as long as the players know we’re going and if they still believe in the dream and the blueprint that I actually prepared then the coaching change will be for the benefit of the team if we find the right replacement,” said Palami.
The Azkals enter the year with high expectations as they participate in the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives in May and the AFF Suzuki Cup in either Singapore or Vietnam in November.
Meanwhile, Palami has assigned assistant coach Diding Cabalinda to handle the initial practices of the squad. (Jonas Terrado)