MANILA (UPDATE) – Stephan Schröck, who is considered one the best footballers ever to wear an Azkals jersey, revealed his reasons for resigning from the Philippine national team.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo, the German-Filipino claimed that Azkals coach Thomas Dooley prefers to field the younger players and wants the Filipino-Europeans out of the team.
“Coach Dooley, he wants to go another way. He wants to build up the team without people from Europe or Filipino foreigners or whatever. I don't feel welcome,” said Schröck. “That's the reason why I'm taking a break, resigning or whatever you want to call it.”
He said he felt disrespected as their coach apparently overlooked their contributions to the team.
“It was kind of he was not respecting me and my team members for what we did for the country,” said Schröck.
Schröck also denied rumors that that he resigned because he no longer wanted to represent the country, pointing out that it was a painful decision for him to leave the team, which has been a part of since 2011.
“[Me] not wanting to play for the country anymore, that's not true. I don't want to play under him anymore. You know it's a hard decision for me… My heart is broken after I said it to coach… I feel almost homesick,” he said.
Ironically, both Schröck and Dooley are part Germans. Dooley, a former team captain of the US football team, was born to a German mother.
On Tuesday, Dennis Cagara, who has been with the Azkals for years, followed Schröck’s exit from the team. Just like Schröck, the Danish-Filipino said he no longer wants to play under Dooley.
“Dooley is also the reason why I won’t play for the Azkals for the moment,” Cagara said in his Twitter post.
Their resignations also have something to do with Neil Etheridge not being included in the Azkals’ training pool for the Philippine Football Peace Cup.
Etheridge has been with the Azkals since 2008, but has been left out from the line-up.
“Neil, what he did for the last five, six years for the Azkals… he was doing a great job for the national team and he's not invited for the Peace Cup. Coach [Dooley] was not even calling him,” said Schröck.
“He just got it from a newspaper, and that’s something I cannot accept.”