PHILIPPINE men’s football team coach Thomas Dooley has accepted the apology of Stephan Schrock, raising hopes for the return of the Azkals star to the national team.
Dooley confirmed Schrock made the move to mend their relationship following the Filipino-German midfielder’s remarks last year that he will no longer play for the national squad so long as Dooley was at the helm.
The breakup was triggered by Schrock’s diminished role in the knockout stages of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup last May, especially in the final against Palestine where Dooley benched him in the second half due to a hamstring injury.
“Everybody makes a mistake and everybody gets a second chance. And I took his apology,” Dooley said on Monday.
The national coach, however, was quick to add that Schrock should also do something “more than just texting me” for the midfield dynamo to regain his place in the lineup.
“There are things that he said that are not true and those things should be corrected and if those are corrected, then I think that would open the door,” Dooley said without elaborating. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Still, Dooley didn’t deny the boost the Azkals, who are preparing for the World Cup Qualifiers in June, are bound to get from Schrock, who now plays for German second-tier side Greuther Furth.
“I never said he’s a bad player. He’s a good player. He’s one of the better players,” Dooley said. “Would he be somebody who can help us? Yes he would.”
“But it’s about personality that needs to fit.”
Azkals manager Dan Palami expressed confidence both parties will eventually patch things up, given their common goal to bring honor to the country.
“It is precisely because of that passion that these misunderstandings came about — one wanting to play and the other wanting to win,” Palami said. “And sometimes some decisions have to be made that the others don’t like.”
“But I think at the end of the day, this particular desire to play for the country as well as win for the country will somehow pave the way for players like Schrocky to return.”