FOOTBALL: MANILA – Philippine Azkals move on as Terry Butcher withdraws

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Azkals will proceed with their preparations for both the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup without the coach they originally tapped to take the helm, former England captain Terry Butcher.

Just over a month since his appointment, Butcher announced yesterday he was withdrawing from the Phl coaching position, citing the challenges in bringing to fruition his plans for the Asian Cup-debuting Azkals.

Irish mentor Scott Cooper, the senior football adviser in Butcher’s coaching team, will assume the reins as the Azkals start their buildup next month in a training camp in Bahrain.


Butcher was supposed to arrive in Manila this month to get the ball rolling but decided to back out.

“Across recent months I’ve been intensely engaged with many people to thoroughly understand and prepare for this exciting challenge. The vital issue for myself was to carefully build a robust plan to meet the football ambitions of the national team and ‘do the country proud’,” Butcher explained in a statement to Press Association Sport in the UK.

“I was looking forward to working with Mr. Butcher as we build a strong team for the country’s first Asian Cup. It is unfortunate, however, that he had expressed difficulty in executing his plans for the national team program,” Palami said.

The Azkals boss maintained this surprising development won’t deter the Pinoy booters from doing their best to meet their ambitious goals.

“We remain focused on getting the best preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup and the AFC Asian Cup,” he said.

Palami said Cooper, a former Thai League champion coach, will handle the team’s buildup for the meantime.

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star)

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