One of Bacolod City 's famous footballing sons will be in charge of the national team when it sees action in the Asian Challenge Cup in Bacolod City in May.
Norman Fegidero Jr., who had a checkered career with the national side, now hopes to create an even greater impact with his appointment as head coach of the team he is set to assemble for the May 11-18 tournament.
A 12-year veteran who has close to 70 appearances with the national side until his retirement in 2001, the 38-year-old Fegidero, currently the coach of West Negros College , was the hands-down choice of the technical director Juan Cutillas, whose recommendation was approved by the PFF technical committee, headed by Mariano Araneta Jr.
Fegidero, however, said he will step down after the Challenge Cup, regardless of the result.
He expressed gratitude to the WNC management, especially his immediate superior Tony Agustin, chairman of the WNC Committee for Sports Development, for supporting him in his decision.
One of Fegidero's immediate goals is to form the best possible team from the available players in the national pool. The Philippines has been grouped with defending champion Tajikistan , Bhutan and Brunei with the top team gaining a slot in the final round in India in July.
‘BEST MAN FOR THE POSITION'
“He (Fegidero) is the best man for the position,” PFF president Jose Mari Martinez told the DAILY STAR last night in a telephone interview.
“He is a household name when it comes to Philippine football”.
Martinez 's statement was echoed by Cutillas.
“Norman (Fegidero) was chosen based on merits and nothing less,” said Cutillas, who picked Fegidero as his captain when he handled the national team.
Fegidero, who steered Negros Occidental to the National Open crown in 2002, is also “B” licensed coach under the Asian Football Confederation.
“We need to promote coaches like him in the country,” he said.
‘LIKE KLINSMANN, VAN BASTEN'
Cutillas heaped praises at Fegidero, calling him an “exceptional player with tremendous leadership skills”. “He's probably the top scorer in the history of the national team”.
But of all of Fegidero's goals, it was his brilliant winning marker against then defending champion Malaysia that gave the Filipinos a slot in the semifinals of the 1991 Southeast Asian Games that stands out for Cutillas.
The Spanish coach said Fegidero's vast international experience will come in handy when he coaches the national side.
Fegidero's appointment, Cutillas said, is quite similar to former Germany star Jurgen Klinsmann and The Netherlands' striker Marco Van Basten.
The former European stars had no prior coaching experience but had long spells with their national teams, before they were appointed as national coaches.
Klinsmann steered Germany to third place in the 2006 World Cup, before stepping down, while Van Basten guided Holland to qualification in the 2008 European Championships.
In between his duties with the national team, Fegidero, an alumnus of Bacolod City National High School who played in the collegiate level for the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos , began his coaching career in 1993 at Ateneo De Manila University's football school.
He also had stints with Xavier School and La Salle-Greenhills and UNO-R, before finally taking a full-time job at West Negros .
Under his tutelage, WNC has claimed five straight NOPSSCEA titles and a number of national crowns.*CPT
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