Swedish coach Erisksson inks 6-month contract to lead the the Azkals in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Football Federation and the Azkals Team Management formally unveiled decorated Swedish coach Sven-Göran Eriksson as head coach of the Philippine Men’s National Team in a simple press conference held at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City last Monday 5 November 2018.
Renowned for his stint as England head coach in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, Eriksson carries a decorated coaching career as head coach for professional football clubs in Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and China. The Swede also handled the national teams of Mexico, Ivory Coast.
Eriksson’s debut will be against Singapore in the team’s opening fixture in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 on 13 November 2018 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.
“I’m doing something different which I’ve never done.” said Eriksson in his opening remarks to the press. “This is a new chapter in my life. Coming here, working for the two big tournaments, the AFF Suzuki Cup and AFC Asian Cup, that’s something, I said to myself that I wanted to do.”
The Swede’s initial tasks are to manage the team in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
“We know what he has to offer as head coach,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. “His appointment is tantamount to what this team dreams, which is to be one of the best teams not only in Southeast Asia, but also in Asia. On behalf of the PFF and the whole Philippine football community, we welcome Sven-Göran Eriksson as the head coach and we hope he can bring Philippine football to a much higher level as the anticipation continues to build up leading to the Philippines’ two biggest upcoming tournaments, the Suzuki Cup and the Asian Cup.”
“As we prepare for two important tournaments, we look forward to the experience that both Sven and Scott (Cooper) can bring and contribute to the team. We have had high expectations from before and I know that it’s not going to be easy in both tournaments,” said Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami. “We are doing the best we can and I’m sure that with the appointment of Coach Sven and the assistance of Coach Scott then we can do well in these tournaments.”
Eriksson joins Scott Cooper, who served as interim head coach in the friendlies against Bahrain and Oman, who slides back to his original role as the team’s Senior Football Advisor.
“Scott is very important to the team. He knows much more about football in the Philippines than I do. I have some experience from football in Asia but I don’t have any experience in this part of Asia,” furthered Eriksson. “I’m quite sure we will work well together.”
The team’s recent movements in the backroom staff and preparation for the tournaments would not have born fruit without the help of Azkals advertising manager, Melchor Miras Jr.
Currently, the team is preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup. The Philippines is in Group B and will face Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Following the conclusion of the Suzuki Cup, the team will fly to Qatar for their final camp ahead of the AFC Asian Cup which begins on January 2019. The Philippines is in Group C alongside Korea Republic, China PR, Kyrgyz Republic.