Limpag: Why I’m not worried about coaching change

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Friday, January 17, 2014


IT WAS almost two years ago, when I first wrote about the “fire the coach” clamor and defended Michael Weiss and said it was stupid. I wrote that changing the head coach just six months before the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup finals would be suicide.

Two years later, it’s January 2014, five months before the AFC Challenge Cup finals in May and we don’t have a head coach, having sacked our coach.

Is it suicide, doing it this close to a tournament?

Well, not really. The fact that it happened this late in the game meant it had to happen. Look, everyone knows I like the former coach and even defended him regularly but that was then. This is now and we have to move forward.

That episode, also, should teach the PFF that despite promises of an extension or noise in the media, if they think the coach should be sacked, they should.

So is it time to push the panic button as our team still doesn’t have a head coach five months before the tournament?

No, not really. And besides, just checking the credentials of two of the candidates being considered would make you drool and make you ask one very important question,

“How can we afford them?”

With those credentials, all our former coaches would look like amateurs.

I asked national team manager Dan Palami, of course, who he is considering as our next head coach but all I got was the generic, “We are looking at five candidates and I hope to make the final decision by the end of the month.” So, I asked Ebong Joson if he got the list but he said no.

Still, I kept asking.

I got to someone who’s also involved in the national team and got two names but I can’t print the names as the PFF is in a sensitive process. However I got the go signal to reveal a few specifics of their background.

And get this, one candidate played in the Bundesliga and even won the Uefa Cup. The other candidate played in two World Cups and logged nine years for Barcelona.

Impressive credentials aren’t they? Backgrounds such as those should command respect from the players.

And who will the players be? Of course a new coach means a new start and direction.

And I think one particular player will get a fresh look.

For Anton del Rosario, once a pariah because of his temper tantrum in Bacolod three
years ago, it’s a chance for him to return to national duty.

Yes, I didn’t like what he did but I’m a believer in second and third chances—if not for them, I won’t be here.

I once asked coach Weiss point blank that if Anton changes and apologizes, would he get a shot? He said “No.”

Now, the coaching staff is preparing 50 profiles of potential national team candidates, including performances in the recent league so the New Guy or Chico Nuevo will know who’s who among our potential players.

Besides, now is the time to gauge players on what they can deliver for the national team, and not for what they did three years ago.

It’s just five months to go before the Challenge Cup, and we have no head coach. But there’s no need to panic. No one is.

Though I didn’t get the names of the five candidates from Dan, he did say that with a new coach coming in, the PFF will be battling for more friendlies for the national team.

New Guy or not, the target is the same—win the Challenge Cup.

And with no defeatist folks from the PSC or POC telling the PFF what they can or cannot achieve (Sorry, I couldn’t resist), we might just win the whole darn thing.

So, I’m not worried.

(www.cebufootball.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 18, 2014.

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