The country’s Under 19 team is back after competing in the AFC 2020 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Oman. The boys lost to Oman, 3-0, and Thailand, 3-2 before getting a morale-boosting win against Afghanistan, 1-0, to end their campaign in Group G with three points.
In a chat with former Philippine Azkals team captain Stephan Schrock, the football icon gave a short breakdown to The Designated Kit Man of what happened in the three games at the Al-Saddah Sports Complex. Schrock, who was part of the national team not as a player but as a member of the coaching staff for the first time, said the game against Oman was lost in the first 15 minutes because of the team’s slow start. He said the long travel, the short time to prepare and the lack of practice before the game may have contributed to the loss.
The second game against Thailand was very unfortunate for the young Pinoy side. The team was in command, 2-1, after the first half before the Thais turned the game around in the final half.
“The red card for Thailand kind of destroyed the game plan. It was very unlucky. I felt that we were the better team and have the more structured game plan for the match,” Schrock explained.
In the last game, Kami Amirul found the back of the net in the 83rd minute to give the country the win against Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan could have advanced in the next round with a win. So they had a lot to gain from the game against us. But we came out being competitive and played good football. And I think you saw the how the team played and how they tried so hard to live up to the expectations of everyone,” Schrock added.
Despite not progressing to the next round, Schrock said the experience of being on the sidelines was very good. “Obviously a long travel and a bit jet lagged, but overall it was very nice,” he said.
Aside from the experience, Schrock also learned a lot. When asked what is the difference between Schrockey the player and Schrockey the coach after the Oman experience, Schrock now has an even better appreciation of being on the other side of the pitch.
“The preparation and games were different. As a player, you’ll get instructions and just try to perform. As a coach, there were several situations and scenarios in my mind, what could have happened? What could have change the outcome of the game? Obviously the game preparation, the analysis and setting up the right tactics and choosing the right players for your system. During the games, I also found it more stressful as a coach because I have little influence as compared to being on the pitch and taking care or changing the game on your own,” he said.
“Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s really it’s really nice to be on the sidelines with this group of players who are so young. I felt it was a really good group, good environment with good prospects for the future.”
Schrock said that despite so much expectations from the team, he didn’t let it affect his stint as part of the coaching staff. He said he is willing to accept whatever the challenges might be when it comes to football, on and off the pitch. He said it will always be a joy for him to be part of football in the country, to bring back more fans to watch the game, and to help the sport gain more followers and support in the coming days.
Which Schrockey, the coach, is willing to prepare for now as his time on the pitch will not last for so long. He says he is now pursuing the next chapter of his football story: his A license.
“I’m trying to reach out to different parts of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF). It is not easy to do when you are active on the pitch and there are coaching courses ongoing. You have to attend every minute, every hour of the course and at the same time playing or coaching the team. It is not so easy to attend every course so I try to really make it happen so that I can, as fast as possible, get my license system in order to have football even better,” he shared.
He added that Schrockey the player will help Schrockey the coach succeed in his ultimate plan, that is to coach the Azkals Development Team (ADT) and eventually the senior team, the Azkals.
“I’m lucky enough to grow up in in a real football environment. I had very great coaches over in Germany and also here in in the Philippines and I took a lot from them and especially after I would say in my late 20s. I really started writing down, memorizing the things that have learned, the training methods that I took and lead to the kind of football that I enjoyed to play and the fans enjoyed to watch. I just needed to be more structured obviously with the courses that would have a lot of impact when you are a coach because you are more on a leading position which I think, suits me very well. Naturally, I like to take the responsibility on what is happening inside and outside of the pitch. I don’t see a big issue for me taking on coaching after my football after my football career,” he explained.
Schrock says the fans can expect to see him more on the sidelines if he is given the opportunity by the PFF. While he wants to be part of the U-17 team that is set to compete in the next few days, Schrock said he needs to be with the ADT to complete the games they missed due to the U-19 tournament in Oman.
“That’s up to the Federation. I’ll make myself available for everything that is coming in. I would love to help make the teams into a better, more competitive squads and the ADT program is made for for boys to be part of the national team. It is the perfect platform for young, but promising players to join the domestic league and the national training. And it makes sense to include me in the coaching staff since I have the majority of the youth national team players with me the entire year so I know and I can help them grow and play better. I hope to be with them more in international competitions,” Schrock added.
Good luck, Stephan. And good luck also to all players pursuing their goals for their loved ones, friends and families. Do not let others pin you down because of the sense of entitlement and delusions of grandeur that they think they have. Everyone has the right to decide on what is good for them and their families. If given the opportunity to help them have a better life, why prevent them so from doing so? This not only applies to basketball players, but to all athletes and even ordinary mortals like us. Why don’t you do something more constructive and practical so that people will not leave in search of better conditions and pay? Or have more empathy.
If not, that is plain pathetic.
Stay safe. Stay happy peeps!
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