|Stephan Markus Schrock|
By Francis Santiago
Filipino-German Stephan Markus Schrock, a highly-touted right back who plays for the German second division side Greuther Fürth, has recovered from his knee injury and looks ready to play when the Philippine Azkals begin their ambitious quest to qualify in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The 24-year-old Schrock, who planed in the country last month to process his passport, was last seen attending the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night while in crutches. But his fast recovery, he said, now allows him to jog and stay fit in time for the World Cup qualifiers this June.
“My recovery is much faster than I and the doctors first thought,” Schrock, whose Filipina mother is from Cebu told the Bulletin in an e-mail yesterday.
“I do jogging for 10 days now although I have to build up some muscles around the right knee because I lost a lot of them in the last 12 weeks of my injury.”
A self-confessed Manny Pacquiao fan, Shrock has been playing for Greuther Fürth for 10 years now, seven years as a pro with a total of 153 games in the second division. He also played more than 30 games for Germany’s Under-18 and -20 national football teams and was a member of the U-19 squad when the team ranked third in the European championship.
The injury kept Schrock from playing side-by-side with the Azkals in their Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup games in Myanmar, but with his fast recovery, he said he may join the team’s early preparation for its first-round qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo.
The Philippines will host the second match of the home and away series on July 3 at either Rizal Memorial Stadium or Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano Araneta said they are eyeing a Middle East camp for the Azkals’ World Cup preparation, which could be held either in Qatar or UAE beginning June 7. Source