Football

Azkals stars Stephan Schrock, Angel Guirado ruled out of Suzuki Cup

InterAKTV file photo/Markku Seguerra

Philippine national men’s football coach Hans Michael Weiss revealed that the Azkals will miss some of its best players who are based abroad during the group stages of the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.

Weiss said that the management failed to convince the clubs of Filipino-German midfielder Stephan Schrock and Filipino-Spanish striker Angel Guirado to release them this November for the tournament.

Guirado suits up for Salgaocar FC, a team which plays in India’s professional I-League, while Schrock plays for Bundesliga first division squad TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

“Angel Guirado has a verbal agreement with his club that he will be released for the Suzuki Cup,” Weiss said. “(But) the club has refused to release the player because it was not an official FIFA date.

“Schrock, I just got information that they will not release him for the first three matches. But maybe they’ll release him for the December period which would mean, in the most positive scenario, that he would already be available for the semifinals.”

Weiss added that the team also faces the same problem with other foreign-based players such as Neil Etheridge, Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena, among others.

But he is not losing his hope that they could join the lineup, citing an incident in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup last March when goalkeeper Etheridge was cleared to play for the Azkals at the last minute after his club initially refused to release him.

“We have to be patient,” Weiss said

Weiss, however, still believes that the Azkals will still be formidable even without some of the foreign-based players, adding that the core lineup which won the Philippine Football Peace Cup last September will most likely play in the Suzuki Cup.

“But good news, we will field a strong team anyway,” Weiss said. “I have a very strong belief that this team will play very good football in Thailand.

The Azkals will play Thailand on November 24, Vietnam on November 27 and Myanmar on November 30 in the group stages of the Suzuki Cup, where they look to surpass their historic semifinal run two years ago.

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