Schrock embraces leader’s role for young Azkals
DUBAI—Team Philippines captain Stephan Schrock didn’t need to hear the conversation among his younger teammates to understand how important his role will be when he reinforces the Under-22 team in the Southeast Asian Games football tournament next week.
A few meters where Schrock was having breakfast, Yrick Gallantes was speaking to Under-22 teammates Justin Baas and Edison Suerti on the team’s need for a leader as the Young Azkals set out to land the country’s first medal in the biennial event that starts on Monday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“I’m very confident I can lead them,” said the 34-year-old Schrock, one of the two overaged players picked by the coaching staff to power the Young Azkals in their biggest challenge yet. “I will try to guide the younger players as much as I can.”
Gallantes said Schrock’s inclusion would be a game-changer for the Young Azkals, who take on Cambodia in their first match in Group A on Monday.
Two days later, the team will face Myanmar, before tangling with Malaysia, before taking on Timor Leste as its final assignment in the group stage on Dec. 4 at Biñan Football Stadium.
“We have some experience as a team in the PFL Cup, but Schrock has the personality and quality that will really help us in tough matches,” said Gallantes. “We need his voice on the pitch.”
Five players in the SEA Games lineup are part of the current senior team that will play Syria on Tuesday night at Al Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium here in the Fifa World Cup and AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers.
Defender Marco Casambre, 20, is also part of the senior side and Under-22 team that will be coached by Serbian Goran Milojevic.
The SEAG-bound pool had close to 50 players, before the lineup was slowly trimmed to close to 25 members in the Copa Paulino Alcantara Cup, where the Young Azkals won one match over Green Archers, drew against Mendiola and lost to eventual champion Ceres-Negros.
We are a team of young players with talent,” said Suerti. “Thanks to our coaches, we are also able to put some structure into the way we play, game management and on the tactical side.”
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