Azkal team losing friendlies since the team is being built up says Thomas Dooley.
The dilemma of the coach
The coach of the National football team of the Philippines was not a happy man today; and, the reason for this disquiet was not the heavy downpour that he was getting drenched in, it lay elsewhere deep down in his psyche.
The coach Thomas Dooley had been making a lot of noise to spur on his wards to more meaningful performance. He just stood desolately on the touchline without a clue as to why the performance of the Azkals had gone down so drastically.
It was not the battering rain that irritated him; it was the lackluster performance of the team as a unit, one that can only be called as pathetic; he did not even feel the downpour since the pain of repeated losses was pulling him down with it.
This friendly match against North Korea being played at the Rizal Stadium was just a repeat of some earlier episodes of mediocre game play and humiliating, crushing losses.
He was doing some deep thinking and reflected that even he could be sitting under the shelter like his Korean counterpart but his commitment to his team had him worried.
Watching the game was an unholy torture since his team was unable even to stick to the basics; when the ball was in the possession of the opponents, they were just making futile attempts to tackle them more like amateur schoolboys without any professional knowledge or training of the game of football.
And, when the opponents made any move, it looked highly probable that a goal will be scored. Moreover, their offensive moves lacked the speed, precision and the incisive that was required to penetrate the rival defense and score.
The Azkals eventually lost with a margin of 1-3; the disheveled and spiritless performance was almost a lifeless repeat of their earlier match against Bahrain that was played a few days ago.
The listless Azkals bowed down to their opponents yet again.
Now that the dates for the Suzuki Cup are nearing, Dooley will have to get his act together in a hurry since the Philippines are hosts in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) organized Suzuki Cup that will be held from 19TH November to 26th November.
The Philippines are organizing this tournament for the first time and will have to field their best team; that is why; the coach is in a hurry to get the best team assembled for the meet that will be held at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
For the German American Coach of the Philippine National Team, the bad luck was literally raining down due to:
• A few of the most experienced defenders decided to hang their boots forcing the coach to look for competent replacements;
• Some competent players suffered injuries.
It becomes very difficult for any coach who may be faced with such a situation. Forming a cohesive, winning combination within limited time is not very easy. The World Cup qualifier in which the Azkals shocked the North Koreans main was followed by more than three months of inaction; that is the reason for this lack of match practice.
The coach explained that the picture was not so murky; they were trying to play better teams and getting a bad name. But these better teams have a way of exposing your shortcomings and getting feedback of what is required.
Playing weaker teams may bring positive results but rectifying our weaknesses is more important.
What’s up his sleeve?
These matches that we are playing and losing are giving us lessons which will empower us to improve. These coaches are never really helpless and they always have some options that will serve their purpose.
Worried? Undoubtedly! Helpless? Absolutely not!
However much he may try to shield it, the very real concern was evident on the face of Dooley. The attendance in the recent matches involving the Azkals has dropped drastically And there have been no major titles won by the.
Their record in the last few years has been quite encouraging though titles have been eluding them for some time. They have been drawn up in the toughest group of the fixtures in the upcoming Suzuki Cup next month but they have been performing quite creditably with Semi-Final berths in the last three appearances.
They are also the top-ranked team of the ASEAN; Group A which also features Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore is expected to be a hot one but the Philippines should be able to advance to the next level with a creditable performance.
Meanwhile, the coach expects the boys to bounce back as a fighting unit when it matters.
Sunday, 23 October 2016
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson