Will the renowned former England mentor Sven-Göran Eriksson be the key to the Azkals' Glory Suzuki Cup?
MANILA, Philippines – With the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup just around the corner, former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson will finally get to the dream of becoming a superpower in Southeast Asia.
At 70 years old, the world-famous Swedish coach – who led England in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups —mitted that this will be his first time to get a taste of Southeast Asian football in his decorated career. (READ: Philippine Azkals dead serious on glory Suzuki Cup)
"I'm very happy to be here [in the Philippines] and I'm sure one of your questions is why am I here? It's not easy to answer the question, but why not? I'm doing something different that I've never done before, "said Eriksson who only had the Asian football experience in China.
Despite garnering most of his success in European football, the Swede was not too concerned about the transition to the Asian level.
"F"Ootball is more or less the same all over the world so you can do it in Europe, you can do it in Asia as well," said Eriksson.
Eriksson's veteran experience will be tested once again to work with current raw materials that will lead the Philippine national men's football team to Suzuki cup glory.
"You have to do the best you can with the player you have [in the national team] – the best player you have in the Philippines of course in this case. That's the big difference [with club footbal] but in other way, it's the same, we have to work hard, you have to be organized, you have to be part of the group, create a good atmosphere in the group. "
With Scott's senior advisor, Eriksson, who is thrilled to have Azkals, senior advisor Cooper by his side who has made his name known in Southeast Asia because of his successful managerial stint in the Thai League.
Former head coach Terry Butcher, Cooper was appointed as the Azkals' who led the interim head coach of the team in the Bahrain and Qatar training camps.
"I know that Scott is very important in the Philippines and he will be extremely important. I need him. I need him desperately because he knows all the players, he knows all the plans and knows all about Philippine football. And of course he 's important and I' m quite sure that we 're working very well together, "added Eriksson about his partner whom had worked with Leicester City FC from 2010-2011.
Eriksson rose to popularity after 18 trophies with various clubs in Sweden, Portugal and Italy before becoming England's first foreign national coach team.
In his 5-year tenure as the England manager, Eriksson has handled football stars like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.
The Azkals' Suzuki Cup campaign will begin on Tuesday, November 13, against Singapore in Pana-ad Park and Stadium in Bacolod. – Rappler.com