By NIKOLE JAVIER
The Philippine Azkals will undergo a crucial and long-term development following their underwhelming AFF stint and Stephan Schrock's retirement from international play.
After 11 years of commitment to the national team, there will no longer be a Schrock to lean on for the Azkals which is exactly why the current pool is set for a major revamp.
The Filipinos wrapped up the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup fourth in the group stage with their lone win over Brunei against three losses.
After a disappointing outcome, it’s time for the Azkals to get back on their feet as more work is ahead.
“We kickstarted now the transition. Obviously, you cannot see immediate results. You have to develop a lot of things. At the same time, you not just have to throw the kids into the pool and hope that they swim,” said outgoing team captain Schrock. “So, the league has to improve, the provisional side of the game has to step up. Overall for the grassroots, especially for the league. And then you don't rely so much outside of the FIFA window on the overseas pays players. So, if you catch up the level then we’ll have a fantastic national team. But until then, there’s a lot of work to do.”
The German-Filipino Schrock has made himself available to the Azkals, considering a new role to continue his involvement with the local football scene.
As his departure puts a great dent in the national team, Schrock remains hopeful that the transition will soon pan out but in the meantime, implored the spectators and critics to "just be patient" as they deal with it.
“I wish I can help them in any . If ever someone has a question, I’d reach out anytime, and I’ll be there for them. It’s a good move, a very smart move from the federation, from the management that we started the transition now. You will not see immediate results in this tournament, but this is a long-term concept. And it was necessary to do so. And we will see results in the near future. Just be patient,” he added.