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Eriksson ends brief Philippine Azkals stint

 

 

MANILA, Philippines – Ex-England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson has ended his short tenure as Philippine football coach, officials said Friday, January 25, on the heels of the Azkals' winless Asian Cup debut. 

The well-travelled Swede, 70, was hired in October to guide the squad following the abrupt departure of Three Lions great Terry Butcher, who quit as head coach before taking charge of a single game.

"He (Eriksson) was really on a short-term engagement as previously announced last year," Philippine Football Federation general secretary Edwin Gastanes told AFP.

He said Eriksson was not fired, adding the Swede was hired primarily for the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup.

"He is available for consultation still," Gastanes added.

Eriksson could not be reached for immediate comment.

He led the Philippines in their fourth semifinal appearance at the Suzuki Cup, Southeast Asia's premier tournament, where they fell to eventual champions Vietnam.

After a strong, but ultimately unsuccessful performance against South Korea earlier this month in the Asian Cup, the Azkals went on to lose to China and Kyrgyzstan.

The team, ranked 116th in the world, failed to progress beyond the group stage.

"The Philippines is unfortunately not a football country – basketball is more popular. But if this generation of players can do well at the Asian Cup, they can change that," Eriksson told AFP after the Korea match.

Eriksson took England to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002 and 2006.

He has also managed the Ivory Coast and Mexico national sides, as well as clubs in Europe, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and China. 

Gastanes said the Philippines are "not yet looking for a new head coach," with the Azkals' Anglo-Irish coach Scott Cooper running the team for the time being. – Rappler.com