Schrock: ‘I’m just small piece of the puzzle’By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SINGAPORE—There’s only a very slim possibility that Filipino-German midfielder Stephan Schrock will see action for the Philippines in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Bangkok in November.
The 26-year-old Schrock, who was slated to start for the Azkals against Singapore in a friendly here, said joining the team for the Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 tournament will be difficult because of his German Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim’s tough schedule during the same week.
“I don’t know if I can come (to the Suzuki Cup) because we play three matches in that week,” Schrock told Filipino reporters here. “The possibility is probably one percent.”
Nonetheless, Schrock believes the Azkals will be good enough to create a ripple in the tournament just like they did in 2010 when they reached the semifinals.
“I saw the lineup against Cambodia and there were a lot of very good names. The team will be fine without me,” said Schrock, who scored a stunning goal in a 1-2 defeat to Kuwait in World Cup Qualifying at the Rizal Memorial Stadium last year.
Azkals coach Michael Weiss said missing Schrock in the Suzuki Cup will not be a big blow for the team armed with a deeper talent pool.
“It’s not such a big issue,” said Weiss, whose side has been grouped with Thailand, Vietnam and the top qualifier in Group A. “For Schrock, we should always look at the long term so we can have him for big matches.”
“There will be big competition in the group. Some of the players that are here won’t even travel to Thailand. We could have 18 top players for Suzuki Cup and for the future,” added Weiss.
Defender Ray Jonsson has already confirmed his participation, while Weiss said Jerry Lucena and Paul Mulders will “most likely” join the squad.
The German coach added there will be a topnotch goalkeeper at his disposal for the tournament.
“We have to wait for beginning of November for final answers but now almost sure is that we will have a goalkeeper,” said Weiss, pointing out that Roland Muller and Neil Etheridge could both be available.