Azkals coach Terry Butcher resigns
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Terry Butcher resigned as head coach of the Azkals on Friday, August 3, just 50 days after agreeing to take over the Philippine men's football program.
“Regretfully, I’ve not been able to make this work in the way that I intended and I’ve decided not to continue in the role," Butcher told UK national news agency Press Association Sport. (READ: Azkals name Terry Butcher as new coach)
The shocking decision caught the Philippine Footbal Federation (PFF) by surprise, prompting Azkals team manager Dan Palami to tap new senior football adviser Scott Cooper to temporarily take over as the team gears up for its Bahrain camp starting September 3.
The Irish Cooper, a former Thai Premier League champion coach, was appointed alongside Butcher last June. (READ: Irish coach joins Azkals coaching staff as senior football adviser)
Butcher, the former England team captain who replaced Thomas Dooley, was supposed to steer the team when the Azkals compete in the 2018 Suzuki Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup.
Dooley guided the Philippines to its first ever Asian Cup qualification and led the team to an all-time high of 115th in the FIFA world rankings.
Terry Butcher's explanation as to why he will not be taking up his first role in international management with the Philippines pic.twitter.com/vLWbF2G0EL— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) August 2, 2018
Butcher had grand plans for the team, even noting that the World Cup "is our target for the Philippines." (READ: New Azkals coach sets World Cup target for Philippines)
“Across recent months I’ve been intensely engaged with many people to thoroughly understand and prepare for this exciting challenge," said in a statement.
“The vital issue for myself was to carefully build a robust plan to meet the football ambitions of the national team and ‘do the country proud’."
“I remain convinced that the Philippines has great potential and I’m impressed with the high-calibre people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet."
Butcher – a veteran of 3 World Cups who also managed clubs in England, Scotland, Wales and Australia – wished the Azkals well.
“I wish all good things for the Azkals and in particular success in their debut in the 2019 Asia Cup. One day, I look forward to seeing a Philippines team in the World Cup.”
The PFF said in a statement that it accepts Butcher's decision and will "continue with the necessary team preparations."
Palami said he was “looking forward” to working with Butcher to “build a strong team for the country's first Asian Cup.”
“It is unfortunate, however, that Mr Butcher had expressed difficulty in executing his plans for the national team program, “ Palami said in a statement.
“We remain focused on getting the best preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup and the AFC Asian Cup. In the meantime, Scott Cooper will be handling the team as we start with our preparations for the different competitions that we will embark on." – Rappler.com