SATISFIED with how he has been steering the Philipppine national men’s football team, the tenure of English coach Scott Cooper has been extended.

In an announcement released early this week, the management of the Azkals moved to keep the services of Mr. Cooper, believing that the latter’s vision moving forward is aligned with that of the team.

“We trust that coach Scott can take the team into where we want it to be,” said Dan Palami, long-time Azkals manager, of the decision to extend Mr. Cooper.

It was a decision that was fully supported by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF)

“I think the team has improved under him and we look forward to him taking the team to another level,” PFF President Mariano Araneta, for his part, said.

Mr. Cooper took over the coaching duties of the Azkals in a full-time capacity at the start of the joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers last year.

The Azkals are currently in third spot in Group A of the joint qualifiers with seven points built on a 2-1-2 record.

Syria (5-0-0) is on top of the group with 15 points, followed by China (2-1-1) with seven. Maldives (2-0-3) is fourth with six points while Guam (0-0-5) has no points and is already eliminated in the race.

Since taking over, Mr. Cooper has been very active in sharing his philosophy and building the legs of the team for competitions.

Even when the coronavirus pandemic started to disrupt the team’s affairs, the Azkals coach continued working.

Among the things Mr. Cooper has put in place is expanding the team’s talent pool, identifying several young homegrown stars who have the ability to transition into the senior side.

Both Messrs. Palami and Cooper formed the Azkals Development Team to give promising young talents a chance to flourish.

Among the players in the team are Jarvey Gayoso, Mar Diano, and Lance Ocampo, all of whom are being considered by Mr. Cooper for the senior team.

Given the nod to continue, Mr. Cooper vowed to sustain what he has started and advance the Azkals’ cause as a team and for Philippine football.

“When I first came here, I saw the massive potential of the Azkals. 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) issued a blacklist order against local football club Global FC (Football Club) for the latter’s failure to address complaints against it over unpaid salaries of players and staff.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra signed the order blacklisting Global FC and barring it from applying for or renewing its license, transacting with GAB, or acting as a professional licensee.

Global was spotlighted for being remiss on its financial obligations since the coronavirus pandemic started in the country.

Complaints of non-payment of salaries running to the millions emerged in recent months.

The PFF and Philippines Football League (PFL) gave Global a chance to address the issue, but little came out of it. The PFF has since suspended Global’s licence to compete in the PFL.

In the GAB letter, the agency instructed Global to explain, under oath, its failure to comply with the processes of the board. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo