BANGKOK — Michael Weiss’ future with the Philippine men’s football team depends largely on the result of the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in the next two weeks and the acid test begins Saturday night when the Azkals face Schafer’s War Elephants at the 80,000-seater Rajamangala Stadium.
Weiss’ contract expires in January and an extension apparently hinges on how the team fares in the Southeast Asia’s premier football competition, at least that was how Azkals team manager Dan Palami put it.
“If that is the case, they should already be having a couple of candidates in place,” Weiss said, sounding a bit defensive when told that Palami made such statement last month.
Palami made the declaration when he graced the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum in Manila.
“I think I have done a fantastic job and if that is the criteria for the extension of the contract… maybe the Philippines should think a little deeper and think what the coach from Germany has achieved,” Weiss said.
Weiss can certainly back up his words as he has steered the Azkals to unprecedented heights: reaching the second round of World Cup Qualifier last year, finishing third place in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup early this year, and conquering the Philippine Football Peace Cup last September.
But it will be at the AFF Cup where his fate will be known.
Thailand has no current ties with the Philippine Football Federation, but the War Elephants' German coach Winfried Schafer nevertheless put in a good word for his compatriot.
Asked what advice he can give the Azkals for them to continue their emergence in the sport, the revered, soft-spoken German mentor said the Filipinos should trust their coach.
“Listen to your coach. That’s the best advice I can give them,” the German mentor said after the pre-match press conference on Friday. “Give him time and he can go step by step.”