Azkals brace for Suzuki Cup campaign

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Thomas Dooley, the American head coach of the Philippine Azkals said on Monday that his wards must sustain a “winning attitude” heading into the biennial Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup on November 22 in Vietnam.

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Dooley, 52, who started his tenure as head coach of the Philippine national football team on February told reporters during the Suzuki Cup’s trophy tour at the Market! Market! Mall in Taguig City that the Azkals will leave the country for Vietnam today.

“It was a tough task if you’ll ask for improvement of our semifinals finish two years ago. It was two years ago and time has changed. Obviously Suzuki Cup is the biggest tournament in Asia that’s why we need a new winning attitude to win it,” Dooley told The Manila Times in an interview on Monday.

“From the coaching staff, utilities up to players, we will do the best we can 100 percent to come out victorious every match,” added Dooley. “We will do everything to enter the finals and win the championship although it is tough.”

Dooley said that the Azkals has become the “team to beat” in football in Southeast Asia that’s why the game becomes harder for them.

“All southeast Asian countries are all really motivated to beat us, so we need to prove ourselves that we’re the No. 1 team in Southeast Asia,” said Dooley, who is expected to lean on brothers Phil and James Younghusband, Daisuke Sato, Manny Ott, brothers Chris and Simon Greatwich, among others in the Vietnam campaign.

The first time the Philippines made it to Suzuki Cup semifinals was in 2010 when the Azkals were under American head coach Simon McMenemy. Two years later in 2012, the Azkals under German head coach Hans Michael Weiss made another semifinals trip but lost to Singapore 1-0.

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