The Philippine Football Federation on Saturday announced that former England and Mexico manager Sven Goran Eriksson will be appointed the head coach of its national team as the Philippines prepare to compete in two showpiece tournaments — the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup next month and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January. And no wonder, many on social media were taken by surprise when the news poured in.
A few of the Azkals players were attending the AFF Suzuki Cup trophy tour in the Philippines capital of Manila when team manager Dan Palami announced the deal with the former Manchester City and AS Roma manager. “One of the most legendary coaches of all time Sven Goran Eriksson will be coaching the Azkals for the Suzuki Cup and the Asian Cup,” he told the gathered fans and media.
— Cedelf P. Tupas (@cedelfptINQ) October 27, 2018
And a written confirmation came minutes later in the form of a tweet from the world football governing body.
Former England, Mexico and Côte d’Ivoire manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has been appointed as the new coach of the Philippines pic.twitter.com/cPNhKdQSxI
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) October 27, 2018
The Azkals fans could not hide their excitement as the rising football power in South East Asia got one of the most recognisable names in modern football as its head coach.
wow. Sven Goran Eriksson now with Azkals! Big name coach plus EPL keeper – kaunti na lang
— Tims (@steadylang) October 27, 2018
— .hoo (@hooiswho) October 27, 2018
A few even couldn’t believe it was really happening!
— Matt Limrick (@Matt16082013) October 27, 2018
While some mocked Eriksson’s choice…
Look! Where Sven-Goran Eriksson is at now. 🇸🇽 https://t.co/w3KFquBsQf
— Diana Yeow (@dy158) October 27, 2018
Others put things into perspective.
To understand the magnitude of bringing Sven Gorän Eriksson, you need to go back to at least 10 years ago when it was a different footballing landscape in the Philippines. Perhaps the first man to land in Mars was more possible than the @PHI_Azkals qualifying for the Asian Cup.
— Sivan John (@SivanJohn_) October 27, 2018
It has been reported that he was being considered for a similar role by Cameroon and Iraq national football association, but to bring Eriksson to the Philippines is no less than a coup!!
With Sven taking charge of the Philippines it will be great to see how good a coach he really is in the modern day game with a country with so much football potential…. #philippines #sven #afc #Football #SuzukiCup #sports #aztecs
— Aaron Little (@heyaaronlittle) October 27, 2018
Eriksson will take charge of the team two months after Terry Butcher stepped down from the role without even conducting a training session with the national team.
With two major tournaments coming close on the heels, it is indeed exciting times for the Philippines national team and their supporters!