Azkals coach Scott Cooper

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Football Federation extended the contract of Azkals coach Scott Cooper to help the team make a push for the 2023 Asian Cup and a chance at the 2026 Fifa World Cup, multiple reports said.

Cooper became the Philippine national football team’s head coach in 2018, albeit on an interim basis, but relinquished the post to Sven-Goran Eriksson when the latter held the position for the 2019 Asian Cup.

 Cooper came back for his second spell as Azkals head coach in January 2019.

“When I first came here, I saw the massive potential of the Azkals,” said Cooper. “During this pandemic, we’ve been setting goals and putting plans in place to achieve those goals. I can honestly say that we can still get better and I am committed to lead this team as it continues to make its mark in Asian and world football.”

Cooper previously coached teams in Thailand and Indonesia and kept the Philippines in a respectable spot in Group A of the 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

The Philippines (2-1-2) sits at the third spot with seven points of the group behind first place Syria with 15 points (5-0-0) and second seed China (2-1-1) with also seven points.

China’s better win-draw-loss record puts it ahead of the Philippines in Group A.

Philippine Football Federation Mariano “Nonong” Araneta praised Cooper for his efforts and expects better performances from the Azkals moving forward.

“I think the team has improved under him, and we look forward to him taking the team to another level,” said Araneta.


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Azkals coach Scott Cooper signs extension