‘Selfish,’ Dooley says of Schrock, Cagara
The Philippine Football Federation yesterday expressed its support for embattled national football team coach Thomas Dooley who slammed star midfielder Stephan Schrock and defender Dennis Cagara for their “unprofessional” conduct in quitting from the Azkals.
“The PFF stands behind coach Thomas Dooley and the Azkals management,” said PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.
“It’s a team sport and not just about individual players. We want to put up the best team. We respect the decision of the players not to play because playing for national team is an honor, a privilege and should be voluntary.”
Schrock said he was no longer playing for the Azkals as long as Dooley is in charge, a move followed by Cagara, who announced his decision on Twitter.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was also taken to task by Dooley for comments on social media that the coach was disrespectful for not informing him of his exclusion for the roster in the Philippine Peace Cup in Manila next month.
Refusing to pull his punches at a packed press conference at PFF headquarters, Dooley called Schrock’s actions “unacceptable and unprofessional.”
“I’m sad when players are selfish and put themselves ahead of the team and lie,” Dooley said. “That’s poison to the team.”
Dooley was fuming at Schrock’s comments to the German media, where he said the PFF and the national team were handled “by a bunch of chickens.”
Dooley also justified his decision to omit Etheridge and Cagara from the Peace Cup lineup, saying there are players based in the Philippines that are rated ahead of the two standouts, who are still in search of new clubs in Europe.
“It’s all about performance regardless of where the player is from,” said Dooley.
“We cannot spend for thousands of dollars for players to travel and not play them,” he added, stressing that he is ready to explain his decision to players if they ask for it.
Azkals manager Dan Palami said the problem with the players stemmed from the AFC Challenge Cup, where the two injury-stricken players were given reduced roles.
“It’s just a matter of playing time and the players’ grievances versus the decision maker which is the coach,” said Palami.
Schrock was hobbled by a hamstring injury during the tournament.
But the Azkals manager expressed hope for a resolution in the rift.
“Everybody is still emotional,” he said. “They know me. I never cease in giving chances of settling differences.”
Despite the so-called player revolt, Dooley believes it will not affect preparations for the Peace Cup, where the Azkals will face Palestine, Myanmar and Chinese-Taipei next month at Rizal Memorial Stadium, as well as the AFF Suzuki Cup late this year.