- Published on Sunday, 20 January 2013 23:00
- Written by BONG PEDRALVEZ
By A Web design Company
GERMAN coach Michael Weiss is set to be given a contract extension by the Philippine Football Federation within the week, paving the way for the resumption of the Azkals build-up for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers on March 24-26 in Manila.
PFF general secretary Atty Ed Gastanes told Malaya-Business Insight he had marathon discussions last week with Weiss, who returned from his Christmas vacation overseas. The German’s two-year contract with the PFF expired last Jan. 15.
“We are in a good way and the gen sec is finalizing the documents,” Weiss, 47, said in a text message. He had earlier stints with the Rwandan national and China Under-20 squads before taking over the helm of the national team in January 2011.
The PFF has reportedly offered Weiss a six-month contract, but neither he nor Gastanes would reveal the terms and conditions of the new contract.
“We are always focused on football…football should win, not any other,” said Gastanes, who sounded optimistic about completing the deal. “Will advise you (on) the results.”
Weiss is expected to call the shots when the Nationals see action in friendlies against Myanmar in Yangon on Feb. 6 and Vietnam on Feb. 10 as part of their preparations for the AFC Challenge Cup Group E qualifiers.
They kick off hostilities in the four-nation competition against Brunei on March 22, play Cambodia two days later, before winding up their stint against 2011 AFC Challenge Cup runner-up Turkmenistan on March 26.
The winner and runner-up in the group advances to the main tournament in Maldives next year.
Under his previous contract, a source said Weiss received a monthly salary of 6,000 euros (roughly P324,000), accommodations and allowances every time the team trains or competes abroad.
During his watch, Filipino booters accomplished several milestones.
In 2011, the Azkals became the first Philippine side to reach the third round of the Asian World Cup qualifiers for the first time, losing in the home-and-away series to Asian powerhouse Kuwait 1-4 on aggregate goals.
They also made their maiden appearance in the AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal in March 2012, returning home with a bronze medal while striker Phil Younghusband earned Golden Boot honors in the competition with six markers.
Even without Phil and James Younghusband, Weiss steered the Filipinos to their first major international crown in 99 years by completing a sweep of the four-nation Philippine Peace Cup that also featured Guam, Macua and Chinese-Taipei last September.
The Azkals capped their fruitful title campaign with a 3-1 beating of the Taiwanese, whom they had never beaten in previous meetings.
Under Weiss, the Nationals earned their all-time best FIFA rating of No. 143 last November.
Although second-guessed much of the time about his player deployment and tactics, the German coach steered the Azkals to their second straight semifinal outing last December in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
The Filipinos bounced back from an opening 1-2 loss to host Thailand with hard-earned wins over Vietnam (1-0) and Myanmar (2-0) to book their spot in the semis.
The Filipinos fell a goal short of reaching the championship round, narrowly losing to Singapore 0-1 in their away game at the Jelan Besar Stadium. The two sides batted to a scoreless draw in the opener of the series at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.