Azkals dampens hopes as Bundesliga winger Holtmann makes debut against Mongolia
Coach Thomas Dooley said the team “didn’t easily score a lot of goals” even though Bundesliga left-handed winger Gerrit Holtmann joins the Azkals from the Philippines for the first time.
MANILA, Philippines — Bundesliga champion Gerrit Holtmann makes his debut for the Philippines men’s soccer team, but coach Thomas Dooley tempers expectations when the Azkals face Mongolia in the Asian Cup qualifiers. AFC 2023.
Recently married Holtmann missed the Azkals’ opener against Yemen, which ended in a scoreless draw last Wednesday, but Dooley assured fans the left-handed winger will see action in the decisive clash of the B group.
“[He] wants to play for us and even if he’s not 100% I want him to play and maybe he can decide how he feels, how long he wants to play,” Dooley said.
“It doesn’t make sense to join the team, and what caliber he is, and not let him play.”
The Philippines and Mongolia face off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday June 11 at the MFF Stadium in Ulaanbaatar.
A victory over Mongolia will increase the chances of the Azkals and at the same time they will have the opportunity to put their opponents on the brink of elimination.
Dooley said Holtmann, who plays for VfL Bochum, is very happy to be part of qualifying and to help the team as much as he can. But the newly renamed Azkals coach quickly played down the high hopes.
“If anyone expects [that with Holtmann on board]we’re fine, we’re scoring a lot of goals because he’s a Bundesliga player, it’s not good because he needs time like everyone else,” Dooley said.
“The players don’t know him, he doesn’t know the other players.”
“He just arrived after a 14-15 hour flight, then the last training session he had was maybe a few days, weeks ago,” added the 61-year-old mentor.
“So he’s done something on his own, but you know, just the excitement that he wants to be with us and we’d love to have him in our squad, that’s amazing and that can only help.”
“But expecting from him that now we’re going to win games because he’s there is obviously too much. We have to be realistic,” Dooley said.
After a draw against Yemen which gave the Philippines a crucial point, the Philippines’ game against world number 186 Mongolia now becomes a must-win for the Azkals, who are two points behind number 100 Palestine. world, in the four-man team. band.
Only the top team in the group will earn a spot in next year’s Asian Cup, while the second-placed team will have to rely on the results of other group finalists to book a spot in the quadrennial tournament.
Mongolia lost to Palestine in their opener after Oday Dabbagh converted an 85th-minute penalty to break the deadlock and send the Mongols bottom of the group with 0 points and a goal difference of -1 .
Despite the massive implications of the upcoming game, Dooley said he could only make minor roster changes.
“Maybe we’ll change a bit on one or two positions, but it’s not 100% clear,” he noted. “Like I said, I always do this the day before, the day we play so I don’t want to say it now.” – Rappler.com