Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fair Play: Stephan leaves us 'Schrocked and awed'

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Oct. 17. Pardon the interrupted flow, but this was twice interrupted by an aftershock)
STEPHAN Schrock plies his trade for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, one of the top leagues in the world, and he could teach a few folks here a thing or two about national duties.

No, it’s not about how he routinely mocks the defense with his ridiculous skills but how he views his duties for the national team.

“This is better than Bundesliga, because we have 90 million Filipinos,” he said after his inspired play led to the Philippines 3-1 win against Pakistan in the Peace Cup.

Yep, in light of the scheduling conflicts, the refusal of schools to release players for the national team, the U23 team’s failed bid in the SEA Games, here this guy, who plays in the Bundesliga, who thinks there’s no greater pleasure than playing for the flag. (Hi FEU, POC)

That, I think, would be recurring theme in the buildup to the AFC Challenge Cup in May as the national team is hoping to have as many matches as possible to address team cohesion and chemistry.

But I think it’s going to be a waste of effort if for every friendly, the Azkals will have a different lineup as that defeats the purpose of having friendlies in the first place.

By the way, our offense against Pakistan was a thing of beauty, and that unselfish play by Schrock—and the way he and Patrick Reichelt sense each other’s presence—is one thing that makes me hopeful of our AFC Challenge Cup bid.

And two other things that gets me giddy about next year’s tournament—which could serve as our entry point to the AFC Cup—are those that I didn’t see yesterday: Javier Patino teaming up with Phil Younghusband and Schrocky providing the plays.


We had so many chances against Chinese Taipei but only converted on one, with Phil and Javier up front, I’m sure they would have performed better with those chances or with half-a-chance.

The second one? The return of Aly Borromeo and his commanding presence on defense. I believe El Capitan, who wears the No. 11 jersey because he used to be the striker, will be back again with the captain’s armband.

Borromeo is still recuperating from a lingering knee injury and it’s been a long time since he suited up, but I’m hoping he could return again. We surely need his presence on defense.


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