MANILA – After losing the Asian Cup championship to Palestine, Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley is targeting the championship of the Suzuki Cup, the Southeast Asian men’s football competition in November.
Dooley is confident with the team’s performance after it made a runner-up finish in the AFC Challenge Cup.
“After the Azkals finished runners-up twice (in the Suzuki Cup), my aim is not just reach the finals but actually win the championship,” said Dooley, the former US team captain and two-time World Cup veteran in a press conference a day after the national team arrived from the Maldives.
Dan Palami, national team manager also supported Dooley’s goals saying that “winning the Suzuki Cup is our ultimate goal this year.”
“We want to win every game. I would rather that we play bad but win rather than play beautifully yet lose,” Dooley added.
Also in the same press briefing, general secretary Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Atty. Edwin Gastanes announced the Philippine Peace Cup schedule on Sept. 1 to 9 to be held at the newly-renovated Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. also disclosed in the press conference, that as part of the Azkals’ Suzuki Cup build-up, they are planning to invite strong squads to the event.
Among the teams eyed to be invited in the said event are Vietnam, Malaysia and Chinese-Taipei.
Last week, the team suffered a heartbreaking 0-1 loss in the AFC championship match giving the slot to advance to next year’s Asian Cup in Autralia, to the persistent Palestinian squad.
“If Palestine is available we might also invite the team to participate in the Peace Cup,” Araneta said.
Dooley plans to resume the team’s training with the Filipino booters for the next competitions, including their Philippine Peace Cup trophy defense, after his return from a two-week vacation trip to the U.S.
Palami also added that as soon as Dooley returns from the vacation, they will be mapping out the team’s training schedule for the competition.
“We will follow the same formula that has been successful with us over the years: training camps plus friendly matches against strong opposition,” he said.
With reports from Manolo Pedralvez