UP Diliman Campus
August 9, 2014
After University of the Philippines defeated Adamson, 77-64, for its first win after losing 27 straight games in a span of two years, the Maroons and most their legions of fans went straight to the Diliman campus for a bonfire promised by guess who? Dan Palami. Yes, he’s the same Palami who manages the Philippine Azkals team who happens to be also managing the Maroons. But I will not be talking about the exploits of the Katipunan boys because this is about the Azkals. Azkals coach Thomas Dooley in particular.
You see, Dooley went all in when he lambasted former players Stephan Schrock, Neil Etheridge and Dennis Cagara. To make you more familiar with the issue, let me share these two stories written by my old buddy Olmin Leyba, who happens to be a colleague of mine at The Philippine Star. By the way, like Sportsmaryosep, he has his own blog at wordpress aptly named byolmins.
And here it goes:
Amid the controversy following the departure of Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara, the Philippine Football Federation has given its vote of confidence on Azkals coach Thomas Dooley and how he’s handling the national team.
“We stand behind the national teams committee chairman Mr. Dan Palami and coach Tom Dooley about their decisions,” PFF president Nonong Araneta said in a presscon yesterday.
“It’s a team sport and we want to put up the best team, and maybe even if we don’t have the best players, for as long as the team is there to perform, to win, then we’ll stand by it,” he added.
The PFF boss, along with general secretary Edwin Gastanes, Palami and Dooley faced the media primarily to announce the plans for next month’s Philippine Peace Cup and the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup. But the conversation tackled the burning issue about the gripes of Schrock, Cagara and even Neil Etheridge against Dooley.
Schrock and Cagara had publicly declared they’re not playing under Dooley again, slamming him for preferring young guys over them. Etheridge had also complained about not being called up for the Peace Cup.
“We’re thankful for the past six months that Coach Tom Dooley has handled the national team. He’s given chances to a lot of young players who are playing locally, which has never happened before…and these young players have shown that if given a chance to play properly, they will perform for the country,” said Araneta.
“I played in the national team before and wearing the national colors of the country is an honor even if you don’t get paid because not many players are called to represent country…It’s an honor to play for country, the glory is for the country, not the individual,” he added.
An emotional Dooley fired back at Schrock, even saying the Fil-German “is not even the best player” in the team.
“What he did was unacceptable, unprofessional and selfish. You can’t have a player like this in the team,” said Dooley.
“How can I invite that kind of player? He’s not even the best player. He can only play two positions, center forward and No. 10. In all the other positions he plays, he has to be tactically good and he’s limited in tactics. That’s why he didn’t make it to Bundesliga, because it’s all about tactics.
“He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong. But he can only play two positions, center forward and No. 10. That’s where you normally don’t have to play tactics; you do whatever you can to destroy the defense and get into position to score and that’s what he can do very well,” he said.
He explained he reasons he took Schrock out during the Challenge Cup finals and why Cagara didn’t start in the group stages, citing injuries that bogged the two.
Having said their piece, it time to move on for the PFF and Azkals. On Sept. 1-9, they’ll defend the Peace Cup at Rizal Memorial Stadium against nemesis Palestine, Chinese Taipei and Myanmar.
Here’s another one:
Moving on from the row stemming from the spat involving players Stephan Schrock and Dennis Cagara and coach Thomas Dooley, the Philippine Azkals look forward to an intensive training program in the next four months to gear up for their title drive in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
The Azkals, who will get back into training on Aug. 18, will play against strong rivals led by Asian Cup-bound Palestine in the Philippine Football Peace Cup next month. After this, they head to the US and Canada for training in October, and hold another camp in Qatar before plunging into action in Asean’s premier tournament in November.
“We are currently ranked no. 1 in SEA in the FIFA rankings and I just hope that we live to that ranking when we play in the Suzuki Cup. That’s the challenge that we have given to ourselves as a team, that’s a challenge that we want to conquer in this very important tournament,” said team manager Dan Palami.
“The plan is really simple: to win every game that we play. In order for us to do that, we need to prepare. I think the preparation that we are planning to have is better than the preparations that we had so far,” he added.
Now on its third edition, the Peace Cup slated Sept. 1-9 at Rizal Memorial gets tougher this time with Palestine, the Azkals’ tormentor in the last Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, headlining the cast. Tough squads Myanmar, which has made strides in the region and Chinese-Taipei, which defeated the Pinoys last year, will also provide challenge.
“The Peace Cup is also a preparation for Suzuki Cup and we will be able to determine how far we need to go in terms of the extent or the intensity of the training that the coach wants after the Peace Cup. So the Peace Cup is a gauge for us on where or how to go about the preparations for the Suzuki Cup,” said Palami.
For his part, Dooley said: “The competitions that we have is perfect. We have some good competition in the first two games (Chinese Taipei and Myanmar) that are very important for us to prepare in our game against Palestine. Hopefully we can do something and win that game at least at home.”
After the Peace Cup, arrangements are being made for a training camp in US and Canada on Oct. 6-14 with friendlies against the Canadian national team and the US Olympic team. One more camp in the Gulf is being eyed prior to the Nov. 22-Dec. 20 Suzuki Cup in Hanoi.
The Azkals are bracketed with host Vietnam, Indonesia and the runner-up of the coming qualifying rounds.
“I think on the paper it looks like we have an easier group. We’re not facing the strong ones. I think we need to prepare every game. We cannot just look at the names and expect to win those games. It’s all about performance, all about preparations and who wants to win the game most,” said Dooley.
The Azkals reached the semis the last two editions and want no less than the crown this time.
“Anything is possible. You can see it in the last two semifinals but we have to win it now. This is the kind of pressure we have to live with,” said Dooley, who had also declared he won’t have Schrock, whom he described Schrock as “unprofessional and selfish,” and Cagara in his team.
Let’s see the other side of the coin. And here’s what Schrock posted on his Facebook account.
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: I love what Dooley has done with the Azkals and his vision of strengthening football’s grassroot development program by tapping promissing young players. I have no beef with Schrock, Cagara and Etheridge. But If I will side with anyone, I will have to go with Dooley, who has a resume to back what he’s saying. I mean check Google or Wikipedia and you will see that Dooley is an accomplished player and coach and we are lucky to have him as our coach.
As for Schrock, Cagara and Etheridge, we’ve got some nice accomplishments but nothing as major than what Dooley has done. So follow the leader.
P. S. I wonder where Simon Greatwich is? The one who said chess is not a sport?
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar