CEBU, Philippines – The Azkals may have been getting most of the attention now from fellow Pinoys worldwide, but the country’s elite football team coach Michael Weiss is still looking for more support.
The support Weiss is seeking for, however, is not only for the Azkals, but for the country to come up with a genuine football program especially up to the grassroots level.
With a good developmental program, Weiss said the national squad can utilize an all-homegrown talent.
“If I have the choice, as much as possible, I want all home-grown talents in the team,” said Weiss, who was in town last Saturday to grace the San Roque Football Festival at San Roque Parish field in Brgy. Subangdaku, Mandaue City.
Unfortunately, the German strategist said there is not enough homegrown talents that can be tapped for all the international tournaments they are joining in.
“There are lot of conditions involved. We need more support from the people, schools, the clubs, the association. You see, there’s not enough good pitches here in the Philippines, just like what you see here (San Roque football pitch) plus the environment, tournaments, the training of the young ones and continuity of the program,” said Weiss.
Having a pool of talented local players, Weiss said it will no longer be difficult to form a formidable team rather than rely on “professionals” who are based outside the Philippines that had been commissioned to fight for the flag and country.
Weiss even disclosed that Philippines lineup for this year’s Southern East Asian Games in Indonesia may be known only three weeks before the event since they still have to know the schedule of their Fil-foreign players.
Given this circumstance, Weiss could not promise of winning gold in the SEAG.
“The lack of preparation as a team would make it difficult to say on our chances,” Weiss said.
Prior to the SEA Games though, the Azkals are set to compete in Taiwan next month then train either in the Middle East or Japan.
And if Weiss has his way, he would love to bring the Azkals back to Cebu for training and another team bonding although time may be very difficult for them to do it this year.
Sans the players, Weiss said he plans to go back to Cebu within the year for a much-needed break.
“I like Cebu very much. I like the people and that is why I’m establishing a relation with the people, with the federation here,” Weiss said.
Weiss’ Cebu trip was backed up by the Cebu Amateur Football Club (CAFC). He will report back for work today as the senior and under-23 teams resume their practice in Manila.
By Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (THE FREEMAN)