Monday, February 24, 2014

Fair Play: Is Dooley just another OJT coach?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Feb. 24 issue)
ONE of the most astute comments I read when the Philippine national team was looking for a coach to replace Michael Weiss was that of the need for the Azkals not to appoint another OJT coach--or one who’s just learning his ropes.

Like coach Michael Weiss, Thomas Dooley has never handled a senior men’s national team before and one said, “The Philippines doesn’t need another on the job trainee coach.”

In a way, Dooley is an OJT coach, but this is a trainee that has two World Cup stints, a Uefa Cup title and a stint in the FC Saarbrucken. So, I’m not worried about that OJT bit.

What I wanted to know and what I wanted to ask the coach given the chance is if he plans to use his stint as the Philippine national team as a springboard to bigger and more lucrative jobs.

And I think I just got an answer.

In an interview with American Soccer, Brian Sciaretta asked the coach if he’s hoping his job now would land him a stint in MLS or even US Soccer.

While saying that’s not what he’s thinking now, Dooley said, “Who knows? I love it over here. The people are nice and the teams are good. If I can bring success here, who knows what it will lead to?”

Perfect answer.

I am really not that interested in where Coach Dooley would be headed after his contract ends and I’m only interested is between now and December and it’s good that Dooley entertains the notion of getting the coaching breaks because he’ll only get it if, in his own words, he “can bring success here.”

And by success here doesn’t mean a semifinal stint in the Suzuki Cup or even the Challenge Cup because we’ve all done that.

Success here means exactly that, a successful Challenge Cup or Suzuki Cup campaign that ends in a title.

Besides, a successful stint for coach Dooley that may see him get an MLS break in a couple of years may also mean some of our top players getting a chance to try to make an MLS squad. Who knows?

So far, the feedback on coach Dooley is quite good. The change in the composition of the national team training pool showed that, with guys like Anton del Rosario, Chad Gould and Ruben Doctora and other UFL standouts who failed to get noticed previoulsy now making the cut.

Ryan Fenix, a sportswriter who started late in the game but pens some of the most insightful and analytical pieces, says Dooley has been to the UFL games, taking serious notes on players.

He’s been to the UAAP matches, too, and if the Cesafi season was ongoing, I’d be probably prod the CFA to invite him as I still firmly believe Cebu’s top college team can beat Manila’s. Consider the fact that some of the individual awardees in the Manila school leagues were products of Cesafi.

Yep, Dooley might not have the international coaching experience but something tells me that he might be just the missing piece.

Of course, we’ll find out what he has on March 1.

BACOLOD. Tomorrow, I’ll be back in Bacolod for the PAL Interclub golf tournament and I hope that Cebu Country Club will make it three in a row in the City of Smiles.

When they won the first one in Davao, not a few thought it was just a fluke and of course, doubts were erased when CCC defending their title at home last year.

Now, even with Mark Dy—who owns the best single round score for CCC in PAL interclub history and LJ Go missing in this year’s lineup, the Cebuanos are confident of their chances.

Good luck CCC and to the rest of the Cebuanos in the Interclub.

And oh, before I forget. Since it’s the PAL Interclub it’s time again to wish Bayani Garcia a “burly good round.”

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