By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Azkals will welcome back to its fold Fil-Germans Stephan Schrock and Roland Muller when they hit the pitch for their next international friendly against India on Friday in Chennai.
“Schrock and Muller will be in India,” said Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta.
Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt’s Schrock, the versatile midfielder who led the Azkals to victory in the Philippine Peace Cup in Bacolod, and Swiss club Servette FC’s Muller, the 5-foot-11 goalkeeper who last saw action in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifications, will link up with Phl XI after missing the friendly against United Arab Emirates.
The Azkals yielded a 0-4 setback to a high quality UAE side Saturday night in Abu Dhabi but they expect to use this as a learning experience as they continue their buildup for the final round of the Challenge Cup in Maldives in May 2014.
Araneta said they decided to set just one Fifa A match for the Pinoy booters during the period Nov. 15-19, the last international match days in Fifa’s 2013 calendar.
“We did not arrange another friendly on Nov. 19 so that the players can return to their clubs in the UFL. We have to support local competition, too,” said the PFF boss, also thankful to the UFL for releasing the players in the friendly against UAE even though it did not fall on a Fifa friendly date.
The Azkals will be dedicating the India match to victims of super typhoon Yolanda and other recent tragedies that struck the country. Team manager Dan Palami is from Tacloban.
Their supporters have set a fundraising activity coinciding with the friendly at Mercato Bonifacio Global City. Donations will be accepted at the venue from 4 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. the next day.
Meanwhile, officials have revised the grouping and scheduling of men’s football competition of the 27th Southeast Asian Games after getting formal notification that Phl’s U-23 side is not taking part.
Last week, Phl was “mistakenly” included in the draw apparently as a result of communication snafu. Yesterday, a new grouping minus Phl was released with defending champion Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos and Brunei making up the new Group A.