PH Azkals unfazed by loss of two mainstays

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 07 2014 08:24 AM | Updated as of Aug 07 2014 04:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Rocked by the departure of Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara over differences with coach Thomas Dooley, the Azkals try to go about their business and look for a “beneficial solution” to the mess.

Dooley attended the draw for the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in Hanoi, where the Azkals drew host Vietnam, Indonesia and the runner-up of the qualifiers, and made known his initial target in the Nov. 22-Dec. tourney.

“Our focus is to get out of this group in the first or second place,” Dooley said, refusing to get drawn into the controversy during the post-draw press conference in Hanoi.

“We need to be better and a little bit more accurate and learn how to think and move faster to make the whole team ready for this challenge,” he added.

Schrock and Cagara the other day both declared they would no longer play under Dooley, dissatisfied with the playing time they got during the last AFC Challenge Cup.

In a statement, Azkals team manager Dan Palami expressed regret over the duo’s decision.

“It is unfortunate that Stephan and Dennis have made their decision. The level of skill and depth of experience they bring to the game will surely be missed,” he said.

Palami admitted to kinks in the Azkals family but expressed confidence they will eventually be ironed out.

“It is natural even amongst family for differences to arise, especially when changes are introduced. At the end of the day, however, it is good to be reminded that every single one in the Azkals family actually shares the same dream: to unite Filipinos through their love for the beautiful game and to bring Philippine Football to the world stage.

“Because of this, and through sustained dialogue forged on mutual respect, I am optimistic we will reach a resolution that will be most beneficial to the team and that will bring us even closer to our common goals,” Palami said.