An uncertain future awaits the Philippine Men’s National Football team.
With only a few months left before both the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Azkals and local football fanatics were surprised in the early hours of August 3, 2018 when incoming coach Terry Butcher announced that he won’t take over the squad as head coach of the team.
The bizarre situation prompted quick responses from both the Philippine Football Federation and long-time Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
“The Philippine Football Federation accepts with understanding the announcement of Coach Terry Butcher not to proceed as head coach of the National Team of the Philippines. We wish Mr. Butcher good luck. The PFF will continue with the necessary team preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 this November and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 in January 2019,” read the PFF statement.
The former England captain was originally poised to take over from former USA skipper Thomas Dooley with the likes of Scott Cooper, assistant coach Chris Greatwich, and goalkeeping coach Steve Marcells appointed with him in various roles.
Cooper, appointed as Senior Football Adviser, will take over as interim coach for the time being. There is still no word, though, as to whether or not Greatwich and Marcells will push through with their roles.
For his part, Palami said that he understood and respected Butcher’s decision to not take over as Azkals coach. While he had been looking forward to what the former Sydney FC coach could have brought to the table, the UP alumnus felt that it was unfortunate that Butcher stated that he couldn’t fully fulfill his plans for the Azkals.
In the end, Palami quickly moved forward from the situation.
“We wish Mr. Butcher well in his future endeavors. We remain focused on getting the best preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup and the AFC Asian Cup.”
Cooper – or whoever will be appointed as Butcher’s successor – will have his hands full in the coming months. The Azkals shall go to Bahrain this September to play friendlies against a local club and the said country’s national team.