8/3/2018 11:26:55 AM

Butcher quits as Philippines coach before first game

Butcher quits as Philippines coach before first game

Manila, Philippines: England football great Terry Butcher has stepped down as the Philippines' head coach without taking charge of a single game, saying he was not "able to make this work".

Butcher, a veteran of three World Cups who has managed in England, Scotland, Wales and Australia, lasted less than 50 days in the job after he was appointed on June 14.

The shock decision by the 59-year-old -- who had spoken ambitiously about taking the Philippines to the World Cup -- comes as the Azkals head towards their first Asian Cup in January.

Team manager Dan Palami said it was "unfortunate" that the former England manager had cited difficulty in carrying out his plans for the national team.

"We understand and respect Mr. Terry Butcher's decision not to continue with his role as national team coach of the Philippines," Palami said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate, however, that Mr Butcher had expressed difficulty in executing his plans for the national team program," he added.

Butcher said he had come to the conclusion that he was unable to build a "robust" programme for the Philippines team. 

"The vital issue for myself was to carefully build a robust plan to meet the football ambitions of the national team," he said in a statement to Britain's Press Association.

"Regretfully, I've not been able to make this work in the way that I intended and I've decided not to continue in this role," he added.

Butcher was named in a shake-up to replace Thomas Dooley, who qualified the team for next year's Asian Cup and guided them to an all-time high of 111th in the FIFA rankings in May.

Ireland's Scott Cooper, who had been appointed as Butcher's assistant, will be handling the team as it prepares for its upcoming competitions.

Their next major test will be November's AFF Suzuki Cup, the Southeast Asian championship, before January's Asian Cup, where the Philippines are grouped with China, South Korea and Kyrgyzstan.

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