Azkals team manager Dan Palami said that Philippine team head coach Thomas Dooley deserves a contract extension based on the impressive performance of his wards.
“I think he deserves a contract extension,” Palami said after the Azkals’ impressive come-from-behind victory against North Korea on Tuesday evening.
He added that although he is happy with the team’s progress under Dooley, all decisions must be discussed with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
“We have to talk about it. As I have said, I think personally I’m happy with the way coach Dooley has been handling the team. Of course, it will still depend on whether the federation and myself can afford him if he wants something more. But as I have said, as far as performance is concerned, I’m happy with what he has done for the team,” he said.
Dooley’s contract has expired after the national team’s most recent outing.
Meanwhile, Dooley said that if ever his contract was extended, he would immediately work on the Azkals’ preparation for the next phase of the Asian Cup and the Suzuki Cup qualifiers in November.
“I plan obviously because I’m very positive about everything and I think in the next couple of weeks I would put more thoughts into the next challenge,” Dooley said.
Dooley, a former team captain of the United States national football team, became the Azkals’ coach in 2014.
The 54-year-old American led the Azkals to their best finish in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup. The Philippines finished second after losing 0-1 to Palestine in May of 2014.
Dooley also led the Philippines to the semifinals of the 2014 edition of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup although the Azkals were booted out of the competition after losing 3-0 to Thailand.
In 2015, he helped the Azkals attain their highest ever FIFA rank of 124 through their successful initial games in the joint 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
In his first tour of duty with the Philippines in the joint qualifiying tournament for the world and continental championship, Dooley led the Azkals to a third place finish in Group H with three wins, a draw and four losses and enter the third round seeding for the Asian Cup.
Jaelle Nevin Reyes