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Azkals re-hire German tactician

Hans Michael Weiss will be returning for another tour of duty with the Philippine Azkals in various international tournaments.

The Philippine Football Federation yesterday announced the hiring of the 58-year-old Weiss, who called the shots for the national men’s football team from 2011 to 2013 and compiled a record of 21 wins, 12 draws and 13 losses.

Under Weiss, the Azkals blossomed into a solid force with Phil and James Younghusband at the attack zone as well as Chieffy Caligdong, Angel Guirado, Stephan Schrock, Ian Araneta, Neil Etheridge and Rob Gier, who coached the men’s U22 squad in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games last month in Cambodia.

Weiss led the Azkals to a bronze medal in the 2021 AFC Asian Cup as well as a pair of titles in the Philippine Peace Cup in 2012 and 2013.

PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta broke the news, saying that Weiss experience and familiarity will be a major help to the Azkals, who are coming off an early exit in the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup last January.

“We are delighted to welcome coach Weiss back to the Philippine men’s national team. He has kept the Philippines close to his heart and continues to be a well-respected figure by players and staff,” Araneta said.

“He has also gained valuable experience over the past decade that will help him in his return to the Philippines. We are hopeful that his second opportunity to the team will be more successful than the first.”

After his Azkals stint, Weiss bounced around and coached Romanian first division club Otelul Galati as well as the national teams of Mongolia from 2017 to 2020 and Laos from 2022 to 2023.

Weiss is expected to hit the ground running as the Azkals are set to play in two friendly matches at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

The Filipinos will be facing Nepal on 15 June before battling Chinese Taipei on 19 June at 7 p.m.

Etheridge, who plays for Birmingham FC in the EFL Championship, will lead the 26-man pool that also includes Patrick Deyto, Julian Schwarzer, Amani Aguinaldo, Jesper Nyholm, Carlie De Murga, Martin Steuble, Daisuke Sato, Santiago Rublico, Jesse Curran, Marco Casambre, Mike Ott, Manny Ott, Oskari Kekkonen, Sandro Reyes, Hikaru Minegishi, Dylan De Bruycker, Kevin Ingreso, Patrick Reichelt, OJ Porteria, Jared Peña, Chester Gio Pabualan, Andres Aldeguer, Kenshiro Daniels, Bienvenido Marañon and Jarvey Gayoso.

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