Philippines’ bid to win the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup has been dealt a huge blow after star midfielder Stephan Schrock ruled himself out of international duty on Monday.
In what proved to be a remarkable turn of events, news first broke that Schrock would no longer be available for selection after it was announced that he had informed the Philippine Football Federation that he was ‘resigning’ from the national team.
However, the player, who recently returned to 2. Bundesliga outfit Greuther Furth – the club he began his career with – took to Instagram shortly after to reveal that his decision was motivated by what appears to be friction with coach Thomas Dooley.
“It’s not true that I don’t [want to] play for Philippines anymore,” he said in a post.
“It was always a pleasure for me and I still feel honoured to have the possibility to play for my country, the country where my heart belongs.
“I want to be honest to you [because] you deserve the truth.
“As long as coach Dooley will lead the team, I won’t wear the jersey of Azkals again.”
And to add to the PFF’s woes, Schrock was soon followed by Lyngby left-back Dennis Cagara, who tweeted: “Dooley is also the reason why I won’t play for the Azkals at the moment.”
Nonetheless, unlike in Schrock’s case, it is unclear if Cagara has officially retired from international duty or made himself unavailable for selection as long as Dooley remains in charge of Philippines.
The unsavoury events did dampen what was initially expected to be an exciting time for the Azkals fans, especially with the draw for the Suzuki Cup set to take place on Tuesday afternoon.
The event, to be held in Vietnam, will decide who Philippines’ group stage opponents for the tournament are, as they look to build on back-to-back semi-final appearances in the last two editions.