by Cedelf P. Tupas
MANILA—The national football team is seeking the guidance of the German Football Association (DFB) in an effort to strengthen the squad, which faces a busy year ahead.
Team manager Dan Palami is flying to Frankfurt on Jan. 3 to meet with German football officials and discuss areas of cooperation between the national team and the DFB.
“We will have exploratory talks on how the DFB can help our team,” Palami said.
Palami said he will try to look into the DFB database and search for quality players that have Filipino lineage.
The Azkals had two Filipino-German players who were part of the squad in the AFF Suzuki Cup, where they reached the semifinals for the first time.
Munich-based Manny Ott started in all three games in the AFF Suzuki Cup Qualifying Tournament in Laos, while Mark Drinkuth was part of the squad in the group stage in Vietnam. Both players did not join the team for the semifinals with Ott tied up because of academic commitments.
Palami said part of his initial itinerary was to meet with Filipino-German pros-pect Stephan Schrock to help him process his papers, but he ditched the plan because of the recent weather disturbance in Europe that could make it difficult for them to travel.
The best option for Schrock is to send his documents to Manila for his passport to be processed in time for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying match against Mongolia on Feb. 9 in Bacolod City, Palami said.
The 24-year-old Schrock, who plays right fullback for Geuther Furth, has been regarded as an important player for next year’s campaign.
“He is one of the players we see that can really make an impact for the team because of his experience,” said Palami.
Schrock is set to join Greuther Furth in a training camp in Turkey next month, before joining the national team for the Challenge Cup.
If the Azkals hurdle Mongolia, they will join a group composed of Palestine, Myanmar and host Bangladesh that will play in Chittagong from March 20 to 31.
The Azkals are also seeing action in the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup.