He may have precious knowledge about the intricacies of football, but Thomas Dooley stressed the importance of mastering the fundamentals of the sport for a team to excel.
The newly signed Philippine men’s football team coach, who was officially introduced on Friday, said the Azkals have to keep it “simple” for them to achieve greater heights.
After all, that’s how top European clubs play.
“I would like the Azkals to play like Barcelona, Arsenal, Bayern, and Dortmund. They play simple, but they are technically good,” said Dooley, who played in the Bundesliga for most of his professional career.
“Let’s make football simple. We need to perfect the basics of the game,” the German-American mentor added. “The thing is when you’re technically skilled, you tend to make the game difficult. You want to be outstanding. But the only way to be outstanding is not to lose the ball.”
Dooley prefers to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which “works for everybody” and will select players who are worthy for coveted spots on the team.
And what is his type of player?
“I’m looking for a player that is technically good with the ball, understands his role, has right attitude, and proper fitness,” the American said.
A Fifa World Cup veteran who skippered the US national team in the 1998 edition, Dooley brings his vast playing experience to an Azkals side that will be embarking on its most important tournament yet, the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, in May.
The eight-nation tournament for emerging Asian football nations stakes a lone ticket to the more prestigious AFC Asian Cup next year.
“We’re bringing in fresh ideas to the team. We hope he will be up to the task. He will have the full support of the federation,” PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said of Dooley, who inked a one-year contract.
“The chances of winning the Challenge Cup just got better,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami, who ultimately chose Dooley over five other high-profile candidates for his “approach and how he laid out the plan to accomplish the team’s goal.”