Azkals stay focused despite change in qualifiers venue

Published June 4, 2021, 3:37 PM

by Jonas Terrado

The Philippine Azkals (Photo from PFF)

Stephan Schrock said the change of venue from Suzhou, China to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates has no big impact on the Philippine Azkals’ final preparations for the World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers.

The Azkals are now in Sharjah ahead of the resumption of their campaign in the joint qualifiers against China, after spending more than a week holding a training camp in Doha, Qatar.

Sharjah became the new host of the remaining games in Group A after several teams were prevented from entering China due to strict protocols relating to COVID-19.

“Obviously, it’s a little bit inconvenient for us. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where we have to play,” Schrock said in a video posted on the Azkals’ Facebook page.

The Azkals captain saw plenty of positives during the Doha camp where a mixture of veterans and newcomers tried to boost their cohesion before flying to UAE.

“We’ve made progress, and everyday you see people coming out of their shell,” he said. “It’s good to see everyone healthy, happy, enjoying the time together, enjoying the work we’ve put in, and I’m confident that we can put a very, very good performance in (Sharjah).”

The Azkals take on China Monday evening local time (early Tuesday Manila time), before wrapping up their second round assignment with matches against Guam on June 11 and Maldives on June 15.