GERMAN coach Michael Weiss yesterday tempered expectations on the Philippines’ campaign in the AFF Suzuki Cup in November, saying the Azkals’ chances will depend on how tough they will prepare for the tournament.
Matching the semifinal appearance of 2010 is not far-fetched so long as the Azkals are committed to the intensive buildup, he stressed.
“If preparations go well and much better just like the preparations to the Challenge Cup, we will have a very good chance to go to the semifinals,” said Weiss in an e-mail to the Inquirer.
The German mentor is expected to return to Manila from Germany next week to begin the crucial stretch of their preparations for the tournament, which he anticipates to be much difficult than the AFC Challenge Cup, where the Azkals finished third.
Weiss has tipped host Thailand to come out on top of the Philippines’ group that also includes Vietnam and the winner of the qualifying event in October in Yangon, Myanmar.
“The draw is good, similar to the Challenge Cup” said Weiss, whose Azkals wound up second to North Korea in the group stage of the Challenge Cup where they beat former champions India and Tajikistan.
“Most likely, Thailand has the best chances with the home advantage to win the group,” said Weiss. “We will be taken more seriously and therefore have to prepare for a more physical approach from our opponents.
“The next months will be highly demanding for our players from the physical and mental point of view.”
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