By Cedelf P.Tupas
The Philippine Football Federation yesterday ruled out national team coach Thomas Dooley as mentor of the Under-23 side competing in the Philippine contingent in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
PFF general secretary Edwin Gastanes said the federation will be tapping a different coaching staff that will solely focus on the SEA Games team.
Former Azkals coach Michael Weiss handled the last SEA Games side that won only one match and crashed out during the group stage in the 2011 edition in Indonesia.
“It was a mistake and we’ve learned our lesson,” said Gastanes of the decision of having the senior team coach also handling the Under-23 side. “There should be another coach who should just focus on the Under-23 team.”
Another reason why the PFF wants a separate coaching staff is the fact that both the SEA Games competition and World Cup Qualifying will run almost on the same dates in June.
After missing out on the 2013 event in Myanmar, the chef de mission Julian Camacho announced last week that a team will be sent this time with at least eight members of the Azkals within the age requirement. The PFF has already submitted an initial list of 50 players for the competition.
“We already submitted documents and have also been attending meetings,” said Gastanes. “We hope that we are able to send a team this time.”
This year’s SEA Games squad, Gastanes said, will be culled from the Under-22 team coached by Australian Jim Fraser as well as a few members of the senior side who are within the age limit, including Daisuke Sato and Amani Aguinaldo.
The Under-22 team which is also preparing for an AFC competition next year underwent training in Japan last month.
“We will appoint a coaching staff and management team soon so preparations can really take off,” said Gastanes.
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