By Francis Santiago
Veteran German coach Erich Rutemoller has been named advisor for the soon-to-be formed Under-23 squad national football team to the Southeast Asian Games.
He will assist Azkals coach Michael Weiss in preparing the team to a competition where the Philippines has established a reputation as the tournament’s whipping boy.
Since competing in the regional meet for over two decades, the country has never contended for a SEAG football medal.
The Philippine Football Association hopes to change all that with Wiess at the helm and Rutemoller backing him up.
“He’s coming over because I want to make sure the team (U-23) will be given the same appreciation and attention like the Azkals,” Weiss said of his mentor.
The SEA Games will be held in Indonesia from Nov. 11 to 25 in Palembang and the capital city of Jakarta.
The assistant coach for the German national team from 1994-2004, Rutemoller, 66, will fly in the country on June 27, Weiss said.
Dan Palami, who acts both as team manager of the Azkals and the U-23 squad, said they decided to hire Rutemoller to oversee the formation of the team in lieu of Weiss, who may not be around all the time since he is also
preparing the Azkals for the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup. The Azkals are set to face Sri Lanka in the World Cup qualifier on June 29.
Rutemoller brings in him an impressive resume and experience that could help the country end its medal hunt in SEAG football since 1977.
Aside from being head coach for Germany’s U-21 and U-17 squads, he also mentored the Iran national football team in 2009 and handled German club teams like FC Koln, Hansa Rostock and Bonner SC. Manila Bulletin