Team captain Stephan Schrock insists the Azkals aren’t losing sight of their goals, even with the postponement of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Cup Qualifiers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Azkals will no longer play this year after the qualifying tournament for the two biggest tournaments in their calendar was moved to next year, a decision that came after the AFF Suzuki Cup was also rescheduled.

But Schrock said the Azkals remain focused on their target of reaching the third round of the qualifiers for the first time.

With seven points from their first four matches in Group A, the Azkals are in third spot behind unbeaten Syria and China, which is only ahead on goal difference.

The Azkals were supposed to play Guam in October, before taking on China away and hosting Maldives in November.

“We always look forward to national team [duties] and the international break, but it is understandable and reasonable that due to COVID-19, we cannot push through with some events as officials, players, staff and fans will be at risk,” said Schrock, who turns 34 this month.

“We still want to prove ourselves in the group and advance and the game plan doesn’t change.”

Echoing the sentiment of coach Scott Cooper, Schrock said the team should maximize the time to process things within the team.

Several players, including Gerrit Holtmann and Raphael Obermair, are still processing documents related to their eligibility to play for the Azkals. INQ


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Azkals to remain focused even without events