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Philippine Azkals set to name Butcher as head coach


By Erel Cabatbat

The Philippine Azkals will now turn to former England player Terry Butcher to lead them in their first-ever Asian Cup campaign in January next year.

Butcher will be formally introduced as the next men’s national football head coach later by Dan Stephen Palami, the Azkals team manager.

“We needed somebody with a wide international experience, good leadership skills and a vast knowledge of international football. Terry Butcher can provide us with those,” Palami said.

While he is grateful with what former Azkals’ coach Thomas Dooley did for the team, Palami added Butcher is a better fit for the team.

“He has been in a similar situation before just like the Azkals. Where we have a limited budget. Just like the situation in Inverness. Despite the limited budget he was able to bring that team into one of the more successful runs in the Scottish Premier League and earned several coaching honors. I am confident that he can provide that leadership,” Palami added.

Butcher has 77 caps for England after playing for 10 years with the national team. The former defender saw action in three World Cup tournaments and has called the shots for Newport County in the English League Two division.

But Butcher is not the only big name football legend to join the Azkals as they prepare for a historic appearance at the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Former Irish coach Scott Cooper also joins the Azkals as senior football adviser in a bid to bolster further the Azkals’ preparations for the Asian Cup.

“We are not just only actually getting Terry Butcher. He will be ably assisted by a competent adviser in Scott Cooper who has a good record in Asian and Asean football. So I’m quite happy with the tandem because we would be needing them as we push through with preparations for the biggest tournament yet in our history,” Palami explained.

Cooper is familiar with Asian football after leading Buriram United on top of the Thailand domestic league and steering the team past the group stage of the AFC Champions League in his first season with the team.

Palami believes that the Butcher and Cooper partnership will be good for the Azkals.

“They have complementary attributes that will somehow benefit the team. We have a very passionate and strong leader with Terry and a very competent tactical and technical support coming from Scott,” Palami added.