Michael Weiss says negative reactions to Stephan Schrock's inclusion in Azkals' WCQ pool 'not fair'

Six months after unretiring as an Azkal, Stephan Schrock was listed again in the national team's FIFA World Cup Qualifiers pool, which was met with mixed reactions from fans. PFF (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--Philippine Azkals coach Michael Weiss said on Friday that he still does not understand why some fans did not like his decision to name Stephan Schrock to his training pool for the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers' November window.

Upon the announcement of the Azkals pool, some fans once again raised up the CF Manila playing coach's first retirement last January, somehow telling the national team officials that he had already called it an international career a long time ago.

However, Weiss said that it is unfair to criticize Schrock's inclusion too harshly.

"I don't know why they're laughing about one of the most decorated players in the country. I think it's not fair," said Weiss, who attended a football-centric conference organized by MMC Sports, the ownership group behind former PFL champion United Clark, at Fairmont Hotel.

Weiss also took exception to the memes that sprawled up about Schrock upon his return to the Azkals pool, even showing to some reporters present at the conference known as "The Business of Football" one meme Schrock himself relayed to him.

"How can you do that? For me, this is very disrespectful, and I don't find it funny at all," Weiss further said.

He then defended his decision to bring back Schrock, saying, "I see him. I know how much work he puts in."

The 37-year-old Schrock unretired internationally last June when he suited up for the Azkals in their FIFA friendly against Nepal at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Schrock played a grand total of 24 minutes off the bench, stoppage time included, in the Azkals' 1-0 win against Nepal.

Weiss said that with huge showdowns against Vietnam and Indonesia ahead to begin the Azkals' road to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Schrock's presence is vital if they want to make a good headstart.

"When it comes to the real fight, performance, and these 50-50 situations, Schrock will probably be experienced enough to master these situations rather than somebody who is a promising talent but not ready yet, so this is my approach," Weiss further said, explaining why he opted not to bring in Jarvey Gayoso and Sandro Reyes.

Weiss also cited the case of Simone Rota, who at age 39 is still showing why he is one of the best defenders in Philippine football.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno