Schrock in awe
ABU DHABI—Filipino international Stephan Schrock has played against some of the finest players in the world when he was still playing in Germany, but leading the Azkals out for their historic AFC Asian Cup match against South Korea will go down as the biggest moment of his career.
With captain Phil Younghusband starting on the bench as coach Sven-Goran Eriksson opted to play Javier Patiño up front, Schrock wore the captain’s armband at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai for their Group C opener which ended in a 1-0 defeat.
“It was the most honorable moment of my career,” said the Ceres Negros star. “Being part of the team and leading this golden generation of Azkals representing the country and leading them on the pitch was just an unbelievable moment.”
His promotion to captain for the country’s debut was made even more remarkable by the fact that he was nowhere near the national team setup about a year ago as he fell out with former coach Thomas Dooley.
When Scott Cooper was appointed interim coach last September, one of the first players he called up for his first training camp was Schrock, a German Bundesliga veteran, who, at 32, remains one of the country’s quickest and most skillful players.
Schrock said wearing the armband brought back memories of the time when he first suited up for the team and Rob Gier was still leading the squad.
The midfielder said Gier would never fail to remind them who they were playing for, especially when they were in the Middle East where a huge number of Filipino workers were based.
“On my first game, Rob Gier was telling us to play for all those Filipino workers suffering and sacrificing for their families back home,” Schrock said.
“I still get shaky knees remembering what he said. We are privileged to be a part of this and blessed with an average life that’s why we always give our best to our brothers and sisters in the 90 minutes that we are on the pitch.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.