2 key Azkals not in early Suzuki Cup games

By Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 09 2012 09:06 PM | Updated as of Nov 10 2012 06:11 AM

But Weiss remains confident with line-up

MANILA, Philippines – Fil-European football players Stephan Schrock and Angel Guirado won’t be able to join the Philippine Azkals in the early matches of the 2012 Suzuki Cup this month.

Azkals coach Michael Weiss said Schrock and Guirado are unlikely to be released by their respective football clubs in time for the first stage of the Cup.

Filipino-German Schrock plays for Bundesliga first division squad TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, while Guirado, a Filipino-Spanish, is with Salgaocar FC in India.

“Guirado has a verbal agreement with his club that he will be released for the AFF Suzuki Cup,” said Weiss. “[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,” he added.

Other Filipino-foreign players who won’t be able to suit up for the Azkals in the Cup are Neil Etheridge, Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena.

However, Weiss remains confident of the Azkals' chances because of their larger pool of players.

Unlike their Southeast Asian counterparts, the Azkals has 35-man pool.

From the pool, the team’s coaching staff will choose 22 players who will compose the Azkals’ final line-up for the Cup.

“We have too many options,” said Weiss. “Normally, they (other countries) have a pool of 15-18 players.”

The Azkals will have mainstays Chieffy Caligdong, Phil and James Younghusband, Jason de Jong and Jason Sabio.

Also likely to make it in the final 22 are newcomers Denis Wolf, Patrick Reichelt and Demitrius Omphroy and Suzuki Cup veteran Chris Greatwich.

“With what they’ve shown in the past two years, I’m fully confident with the group. I’m very positive that we can go further,” said Weiss. – with a report from Asean Football