The Philippine Azkals are bringing back Thomas Dooley to call the shots for the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers slated June 8 to 14 in Mongolia.
Dooley’s return was confirmed by the Philippine Football Federation Wednesday, May 25, days after Scott Cooper officially stepped down from his post.
The former United States international was first hired back in 2014 as a replacement for Michael Weiss.
“We trust that he can take the team to greater heights in his second stint as head coach,” said PFF president Nonong Araneta. “We wish him and the team well as they prepare for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers next month.”
He almost steered the Philippines to the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, losing to Palestine in the final, before sending the Azkals to the semifinals of that year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.
Dooley also was in charge when the Azkals secured a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup after beating Tajikistan in the final match of the qualifiers back in 2018.
Despite that, the management decided not to give Dooley a fresh contract. The Azkals had multiple changes, first with former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson, Stewart Hall and Cooper, though he had been with team since 2018 under different capacities
Football fans will certainly approve of his hiring since many of them have called for Dooley’s return.
The Azkals are eyeing a spot in next year’s Asian Cup in Qatar as either the top team in Group B with Palestine, Yemen and host Mongolia or become one of the five best second placers.
“I’m back and can’t wait to get started,” Dooley said in a Facebook post. “We will change the direction we have been going for the last four years.”
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