Is a SEAG medal a realistic target?

A shrug, a twitch and a grimace.

That’s how coach Michael Weiss answered when I asked him whether a “SEA Games medal was a realistic target” while we were downing a few beers the other night.

We got to talking about how media hype may have led some fans, the clueless showbiz media and even a few of the sports media, to expect the world of the Azkals. How some tend to have unrealistic expectations.

“This (success) just doesn’t happen in six months,” he said.

Then I asked him how the Under 23 team was doing.

 “It will be a totally new team with Manuel Ott, Jason de Jong, Roland Mueller, a fully professional keeper…There are also many, many homegrown talents who want…” he said.

“So, is a SEAG medal a realistic target?”

His face twitched a bit, he grabbed his glass of beer and shrugged.

I asked if all the media hype and the success of the senior team will put pressure on the Under 23 squad to deliver what fans expect of them.

Earlier, he complained that the media, instead of educating the fans, also tend to add to the hype.

“Here, let me show you something,” he said while grabbing my notebook.

When I realized he was writing a series of (please click===>) lineups, I told him that I may not be competent enough to understand it.

“No, you will understand this,” he said. “Now look.”

“I don’t think I’m seeing what you want me to see coach.”

Then he rattled off the names and then I began to see the picture.

 “What do you think?”

“I think I like this one,” I said, pointing to his Team 3.

“This,” he said, while pointing to the first one, “Is the team that played in Kuwait. This one, in Rizal and this is my dream team.”

His dream team really is a dream team and I know some fans will be surprised to see a few missing names.  The composition of the back four, I think, will also raise a lot of discussions.

“If you noticed, only five of them played in Kuwait. That is what I was waiting for the media to point out.”

I asked if the team is pressured.

 “There’s no pressure on the players, they will just play.”

“But what happens if they can’t win a medal?” Or perhaps I may have asked it as, “but what happens if you can’t win a medal?”

“What will happen? You will fire the coach? You will all say ‘FIRE THE COACH?’”

It was my turn to stammer, “No coach, that’s not what I’m getting at.”

The team started training last Monday, and will have a series of training camps in Bacolod and one outside the country—Japan or the middle east.

But a two-month preparation compared to say, host Indonesia, which identified its training pool as early as last January?

Is two months enough?

I didn’t catch an answer but I think I detected a grimace on coach Weiss’ face.

But I could clearly see he looked surprised when I told him that the 1991 team—the one that made it all the way to the semis—was the most successful SEAG men’s football team.

A success that this year’s SEAG team—the first one since 05 and the second since 1999--are being tapped to surpass.

“So, is a medal a realistic target?” I asked again.

“Well, they are talking of a bronze medal.”

“So it is a realistic target?”

“OK, let me tell you right now. If we win the gold, we will party every night for 30 days here in Cebu,” he said, and he wasn't even smiling.

“A bronze, maybe 28 days.”

So, is a SEA Games medal a realistic target?


Arielle said…
Said it before, will say it again (and I hope coach and the rest of the team get to hear it):

Gold or no gold, we're always behind the Azkals.

Woot! =)
Anonymous said…
just let the coach pick the right players and no politics and nepotism and we will win.
Anonymous said…
expectations from fans are good. . 2yrs ago many filipinos doesnt even know that the Azkals exist. . In football fans fuel the fire, so let the fire burning. . Medal or no medal loyal fans would still be there, waiting for a chance to yell PILIPINAS!!!
Anonymous said…
Expectations from fans are good, but in the our case (Philippines' case), expectations have become unrealistic from a lot of fans and media. In fact, the unrealistic expectations were so great that there were a lot of people who genuinely thought we were capable of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

And then if a team fails, they're quick to blame this or that person rather than simply realizing that we're not as good they think we are. Its all hype. Hype for the wrong reasons!

To answer the title of this blog entry, no. It's not a realistic target. Simple as that really.
Eunice Lagrimas said…
we will support the PHILIPPINE AZKALS until the end. Whatever happen its okay. Just Pray, Support and give them a cheer!! Go Go Go AZKALS!! :)
Eunice Lagrimas said…
We always Support Philippine AZKALS, whatever happens. okay lang kung ano man ang makuha nila Bronze man yan o Gold. Just be proud! Go Go Go! Love you AZKALS always here for you.. :)
Anonymous said…
So his dreamteam is team number 3?

The composition of the defence isnt that surprising except for Ott. Lucena is converted from midfielder to a defender now for his club the last few years, and he is superb either on midfield or at the back four. Whats surprising to see is that Caligdong manages to stick to the starting lineup, and he has really grown as a player the past year. Other than that, the rest of the players are no surprise.

As for winning a medal, its still a long shot. Its not even sure that the foreign based players will be available. Anyway, its going to be exciting. I dont have any expectations. I just wanna see good football.
Langgam said…
sir who is the "JY" in the left midfield doon po sa sketch ni coach? I'm just curious hehe. thanks
Unknown said…
JY is James Younghusband
Arielle said…
Hey! That pic wasn't there when I first commented— pahabol ako. =)

I just want to ask: when will Cagara really be suiting up for the Azkals? It seems we've always been hoping and hoping for him to do so but there's always something getting in the way.

If we keep Ray in that list, I think it won't be too much of a "dream" as it will be fully possible.

Just saying.

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