THERE are really those who don't like the way Coach Michael Weiss handles the team, and I thought, it was just part of the usual criticisms that goes along with the job of a national head coach. Or the rantings of those who used to be part of the national team.
But when I read Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta's rather strong words--albeit one that even surprised Nonong when it came out in spin.ph--I suspected that Coach Michael Weiss is on the way out.
Which is sad considering what he has accomplished in two years---a third place finish in the Challenge Cup, the Peace Cup title and a semifinal stint in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Could he have done better? Of course he could, just as it's true that any of us could have done better in 2012 in our field if this or that had gone our way.
I thought he should get at least a year's extension.
But six months? The reaction from Coach Weiss is expected. He’s been talking about 2015 and he got just up to the middle of 2013? Unless of course, we top the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers.
Is the PFF hoping coach Weiss will turn down the offer, giving them the free hand to get a new coach? Does the PFF have a candidate waiting?
The six-month extension will hinge on the AFC Challenge Cup campaign, on whether Weiss is really the right man to take the Azkals to a new level.
Last time I bothered to check about whether coach Weiss was the man for the job, I thought he was and an extension was a cinch.
Which probably shows how little I know of what's going on in the national team. Things like these don't happen and aren't decided overnight and I really thought that semifinal stint in the Suzuki Cup was enough.
Though there are times that I got disappointed with how it seems we're always a second-half team, I thought of it differently, that at least we're adjusting and playing better in the second half, instead of getting into our traditional second-half collapse. I guess, one of these days, I’ll start watching an Azkals match on TV sans beer (But where’s the fun in that?)
So what happens if Coach Weiss turns down the offer? The Challenge Cup qualifiers is in March, surely the PFF has considered that one.
I have to remind myself that this is not the PFF of old, where personal interest, it seems, was more valuable than that of football development. I guess, I’ll have to trust that the guys know what they’re doing.
And on the flip side—I guess, we can take it as an advantage that we have a PFF that, despite all that has been achieved, isn’t satisfied. Which kind of sets the bar too high if ever we get a new coach.
But whether it’s still coach Weiss or a new one—I hope to see two changes in the PFF. 1.) The PFF president should never criticize the national coach, publicly. It’s just not done. And I think the only other time I remember reading an FA head criticizing their national coach, it was a precursor for non-extension or him getting the boot. And 2.) Give the coach tangible targets—say, another stint in the AFC Challenge Cup main draw? A ranking in the mid 130s? I think aiming for the Suzuki Cup title—as what Cristy Ramos indirectly said—may be, at this time, too high.
And of course, whenever there are changes or planned changes, or questions and misgivings about how he’s handling the team, I hope whoever the coach will be, will learn it from the PFF first hand, and not online.
(Perhaps, it’s already being done and we only assume that it’s not because we learned of it second hand. Crap, sometimes, I miss that inebriated guy who’d write away, with nary a care for what others think.)
Whatever happens in the next few days, I wish Coach Michael Weiss all the best, because whether you like him or not, the guy was a boost to Philippine football. (And yeah, I like Coach Weiss.)
And on a separate note, this is a lesson for writers, reporters, and bloggers too—during that euphoria of the Suzuki Cup campaign, and the disappointment of that loss—nobody tackled the next important issue, on whether coach Weiss was to get an extension and for how long. I think it was only Cedelf who wrote about the issue, and it was when Coach Weiss was confident about getting that extension.
And before I forget, Happy New Year! These are interesting times for the Azkals.
P.S. Whether you agree with me or not, please feel free to post in the comments. What we need is a genuine discussion or critique, not those threads that digress into discussions on race, the PBA vs. football, or of hot chicks in white shirts under the rain (though I like the last part)