Azkals ready to take on rivals in Suzuki Cup

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Stephan Schrock of the Azkals (left) battles for the ball against Pak Myong Song of North Korea during a friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on October 10. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

Stephan Schrock of the Azkals (left) battles for the ball against Pak Myong Song of North Korea during a friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila on October 10. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

Filipino-German midfielder Stephan Schrock of the Azkals declared that the Philippines would be in full strength against regional powerhouse teams in the upcoming Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in November.

Despite losing in two consecutive friendly games recently, Schrock believes that the Azkals still have time to prepare.

“We still have five weeks to prepare for the Suzuki Cup, I can promise you that we will be prepared for that,” the 30-year-old booter said in an interview.

The Philippines suffered back-to-back defeats in tune-up matches against Bahrain, 1-3, and North Korea, also 1-3, in Manila.

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According to Schrock, fatigue played a big role in their defeats but stressed that they are now looking forward to making themselves better for their Suzuki Cup campaign.

“Losing is always bad but it’s just a friendly. We tried some things and we have to be better in some things. At this point of the season, everybody’s is not at a 100 percent,” he said.

The Filipino-German Bundesliga veteran, who now plays locally for Ceres La Salle FC in the United Football League, said that the whole team would work really hard in their preparation for the Suzuki Cup.

“I know, we as players, and the management together with the coaches will be very hard on ourselves for the next couple of weeks to have a better performance in November,” he said.

Schrock stressed that every game is a learning process, “Like always, we have to learn. We have to analyze and we have to improve.”

He said that each member of the team is in tip-top condition except Misagh Bahadoran who suffered a minor bruise.

“The positive thing is that we have a healthy squad except for Misagh. That’s the only positive thing that we can take to our next friendly game,” he concluded.

The Philippines is scheduled to play another exhibition match against Kyrgyzstan on November 9 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

The Philippines won 2-1 over Kyrgyzstan in the latter’s home stadium in Bishkek in their previous bout.

Azkals will be playing in Group A of the Suzuki Cup along with Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Philippines will face first Singapore on November 19 followed by a game against Indonesia on November 22 and defending champion Thailand on November 25.

The games will be held at the Philippines Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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