PFF agrees with Azkals management on coach Thomas Dooley contract extension
Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta says he sees a real solid team playing under Thomas Dooley. Jerome Ascano

THE Philippine Football Federation expressed willingness to reward men’s national team coach Thomas Dooley a new tenure after a year of ups and downs.

Azkals manager Dan Palami earlier recommended in the middle of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup the extension of the German-American mentor’s one-year contract, which ends in February.

Terms have yet to be finalized.

“I have no objection to that,” PFF president Nonong Araneta said. “We’ve seen how he has shaped up the team: it’s really a team playing.”

Dooley has also managed to keep the Azkals intact off the field, leading the pack amid a publicized falling out with overseas-based standouts Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara a few months ago.

On the pitch, US national team skipper steered the Filipino footballers to numerous breakthroughs this year, although they fell short of expectations in major competitions. They wound up runners-up in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup and the Philippine Peace Cup, before missing the Suzuki Cup finals, the third straight for the Filipinos.

“One setback is not (a basis of his extension),” Araneta said. “We just have to pick up the pieces and move forward.”

“Now that we know the season’s over, we can start sitting together and think about what we are going to do. Am I still involved or not?” Dooley asked.

The 53-year-old mentor said he “definitely” wants to stay at the helm of the national team.

“I know the boss would like to work with me longer, so I hope so,” he said. “We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

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