WATCH: Azkals coach Dooley fires back at Schrock, Etheridge, Cagara
MANILA, Philippines – Men’s National Football Team head coach Thomas Dooley finally issued his response to the controversies that have plagued the country’s football scene this past week at a press conference at the Philippine Football Federation headquarters in Pasig City on Thursday, August 7.
Dooley is at the epicenter of controversy after Azkals standouts Stephan Schrock, Dennis Cagara and Neil Etheridge voiced their displeasure with the German-born, American-naturalized former US team captain through social media on Monday.
The Filipino-German Schrock announced on Monday, August 4 that he was withdrawing from the team citing Dooley as the reason, which was followed later that day by the Filipino-Danish Cagara, who echoed similar statements on his Twitter page after being left off the Peace Cup roster. Etheridge, a Filipino-British player who joined the team the same time as the Younghusband brothers, also stated he was "disrespected" after not being invited to play in the Peace Cup.
"As long as coach Dooley will lead the team, I won't wear the jersey of Azkals again," said Schrock, who claims that Dooley lied to him about his role in the team.
During the press con, Dooley said that the PFF and the team is not just a “pick-up club or a pick-up organization or a chicken farm like Stephan [Schrock] was saying in the social media.
“Stephan said something. He’s a liar, too. Obviously he’s not happy [with the playing time that was given to him]. He’s pissed off,” the coach says.
Dooley says that the disagreement between himself and the German-Filipino Schrock started way back during the Challenge Cup in May when the rookie coach decided not to include him in the starting 11 of their semi-final match in Maldives.
Notwithstanding the mudslinging that has happened through the course of the whole disarray, the former American national team player says that he felt unhappy about the whole situation. (RELATED: Why the Azkals are upset with team management)
“I’m sad that this situation has happened. You have three players who are selfish and putting themselves in front of everything, making everything bad, making stories,” Dooley stated.
He further asserted that what the three players did was “unacceptable, unprofessional and selfish.”
Consequently, on Cagara’s situation, Dooley believes he indeed was a great player but his playing form took a downturn following the injuries that struck him.
“Dennis, from 2007 to 2010 was a great player [but] then he got injured and he dropped down a little bit.”
He qualified “Dennis is a great guy. I like him, but it’s about performance. About what [he] can do right now, not five years ago.”
Meanwhile, when asked to comment about the future that ex-Fulham player Neil Etheridge has on the national team, Dooley held “[He should] play for a year. Then we well see. He is young, unprofessional and he has to learn how to react properly.”
Editor's note: A previous edition of the story read: "Dooley says he is keen on changing the dynamics of the team by utilizing more local players than those who play overseas, adding “there are so much talents in the local players.”
Dooley did however state: "That doesn’t mean we can eliminate the international players from the team. In the end it’s all about being successful and playing successful football, without the international players we cannot survive and we always rely on those kind of performances from those players abroad. That means first comes the performance and then second player development."
We regret any misunderstanding this might have caused.
A full report on the press conference will follow shortly. – with reports from Jaelle Nevin Reyes/Rappler.com