Dan Palami stepped down as Team Manager of the Philippine Azkals, ending his 15-year service to the national football team.
Palami, 53 years old, revealed the announcement on Tuesday at the Philippine Football Federation office in Pasig City during a press conference, unveiling the plans of newly-elected president John Gutierrez for the upcoming year.
“As you can see, the PFF is moving forward, and I thought it was time for me, as a courtesy in deference to what Sir John will do in the next four years,” said Palami. “I want to give him the elbow room and free hand to do what he thinks is necessary for Philippine football to move forward.”
“After talking to, of course, family and friends, it’s time I move on to the next phase in my football life. I’m not leaving football, but I think, as far as the national team is concerned, Sir John (Gutierrez), I’m sure, will find the right path moving forward,” he added.
Palami played a pivotal role in rejuvenating Philippine football during the Azkals’ memorable and impressive 2010 run. With the likes of former skipper Stephan Schrock, current captain and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, brothers Phil and James Younghusband, and Chieffy Caligdong, Palami’s appointment in 2009 sparked the rise of football in the Philippines to its full potential.
Guided by Palami’s leadership and backing, the Philippines advanced to the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010, famously known as the “Miracle in Hanoi,” igniting a revival of football in the nation.
President John Gutierrez of the Philippine Football Federation stated they’ve initiated the quest for a new team manager, mentioning that as of Tuesday, they’ve narrowed down their selection to three candidates.
“Once the new manager takes over, whoever he may be, he will also have to find the best possible players and form the strongest team for the federation until the time that our locally developed players are ready and are at par with those overseas talents and players then the system will have to go on as is,” Gutierrez said.