THE departure of Michael Weiss as coach of the Philippine men’s football team has opened the door not just for a new mentor, but for players wanting to take a crack at places in the national squad.
One of them is former Azkal Anton del Rosario.
“Of course, I’d love to be back on that team,” the 32-year-old Kaya skipper beamed as he spoke to Spin.ph on Tuesday night after his team’s 2-1 win over Pachanga in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium. “I live and die soccer for this country.”
A national booter since 2004 and a stalwart of the 2010 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup side that made history and sparked a renaissance in the sport in the country, del Rosario hasn’t been donning the national colors for the past few years following a feud with the German mentor.
“Some people liked him, some people didn’t,” the Filipino-American defender admitted. “I mean you can’t say he didn’t get the job done because the record shows what he accomplished. But in the end, you see it had a lot to do with the players. I feel like a lot of credit was taken away from the players and given to the coach."
“It was known that me and coach Weiss had our differences and stuff like that,” he continued. “I’m sure he had his differences with other people as well. But people are people. Not everybody gets along.”
“But I can’t say anything bad about him,” he was quick to add. “I’m not that guy who comes out badmouthing people.”
“We’ll see how it pans out. Hopefully the next guy that comes in does the same thing, brings us up a lot more places up in the rankings and maybe, hopefully win the Challenge Cup.”
Azkals manager Dan Palami earlier said the change in coach could also mean a change in the composition of team.
“It simply means it gives everybody a new lease in life for those who still want to try out for the national team. I think we’ll try to have a bigger pool of players at the outset so that the coach will have more players to choose from.”
And del Rosario assured his availability if and when that chance comes.
“If I get that phone call, I’d be there in a heartbeat.”