Azkals upbeat as Fifa World Cup coach takes over

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Azkals can’t wait to set sail on another history-making journey in next month’s Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup with high-caliber Swede coach Sven-Goran Eriksson now at the helm.

Eriksson, who called the shots for England in two Fifa World Cups and boasts of a vast experience in club and international football, will oversee the team’s training camp starting Nov. 3 in Manila and Bacolod before its Suzuki Cup opener against Singapore on Nov. 13 at Panaad Park and Stadium.

“There’s been a positive vibe in the team and the entry of Sven has magnified it,” Azkals team manager Dan Palami said during yesterday’s PSA Forum. “I think the players are excited to be under the tutelage of somebody who has coached somebody like (English legend David) Beckham and champions.”

The 70-year-old Eriksson, who actually dropped by the Pinoy booters’ sessions in Qatar last month to check them out, came on board just three weeks before the Asean meet but Palami expressed confidence everyone will easily adjust. Eriksson will be assisted by Irish mentor Scott Cooper, whom he had previously worked with at Leicester City.  

“Others are saying that he should have come earlier. I’m not too worried with that. The style of Scott and Sven are complimentary. It will bode well for the team. He’s experienced to know what adjustments he has to make,” said Palami, who added he convinced the highly touted Eriksson to choose Phl over other suitors with the help of the team’s marketing partner, M Sports led by Melchor Miras.   

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