Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fair Play: Will Dooley inspire team's confidence?

THERE was a moment that I really found odd during our loss to Singapore to Singapore in the second leg of the 2012 Suzuki Cup semifinals and it didn't happen on the pitch.

It came during an injury break, I think, as the players were near the touchline and Chris Greatwich, approached one of the players to relay something, while taking furtive glances at Coach Michael Weiss, as if afraid that he'd snap at him.  Before coming over, Greatwich spent time in the US as a coach, and I'm pretty sure there were moments when some of his players would also chip in in coaching without the head coach barking up.

It was really odd and the way Greatwich was looking at coach led me to think one thing, what he was saying was contrary to the coach's instructions and that says a lot.

Admittedly, there really is a lack of preparation for the Azkals for the AFC Challenge Cup, but time is relative.  Unlike years ago, when the first day of training camp means the first day of everything, for the past years or so, the players are coming in fit and are familiar with each other.

I think you can compare the team to the latest smart phone, it has everything and its effectiveness will be determined on who uses it.

Coach Thomas Dooley.

Can he do it?

And more importantly, can he command the confidence from the team?  That's what we are going to find out on March 1 against Malaysia, which we drew in our last two matches.

So far, we are hearing all the right things about Dooley and from the coach himself, kind of like the first few months under coach Weiss.  I just hope things improve.

One thing I also want to see improved under Coach Dooley is team unity.  After attending a few functions with the team, you can almost see the team division by looking at who sits with whom---the local boys on one table, the Fil-Brits on one, the Fil-Spanish on another and so on.

In the runup to Vietnam 2010, Dan Palami told me that they made it a point that even the team meals would be part of the training, requiring that everyone rotate.

It’s a small thing but it helps, just take a look at what happened in 2010.

Coach Dooley knows what it takes to win as a player, having had a remarkable career in the Bundesliga and in the US. But the question is, will that translate to success in Asian football?

We’ll see.

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