MANILA, Philippines?Already bereft of its top striker, the Philippine bid in the AFF Men?s Football Championship Qualifiers was dealt another blow following the withdrawal of two highly touted reinforcements from Denmark and Germany.
Midfielder Jerry Lucena, born and raised in Denmark who now plays for AH Aarhus in the Danish first division, encountered problems getting dual-citizenship and will not be playing for the national team in the qualifiers, set in Cambodia from Friday to Oct. 25, according to Philippine Football Federation general secretary Pablito Araneta.
Araneta added that Stephan Schrock, a Filipino-German, was not released by his club Greuther Fuerth, which is campaigning in the German second division.
Schrock is a midfielder who has played in seven games for Greuther this season and has scored once and assisted on two goals.
The Philippines will also miss star striker Phil Younghusband and his older brother, James. The Younghusband brothers, the PFF said, opted to focus on their modeling careers.
The Filipinos, mentored by Juan Cutillas, have a 1-1 record in exhibition matches in Bangkok, where they are wrapping up their preparation for the Cambodia tournament.
Their latest outing Monday was a 1-2 defeat against club team Bangkok Glass.
With Phil Younghusband out, Ian Araneta has been elevated to the starting 11 together with Filipino-British player Chad Gould.
Among the notable holdovers from the team that posted a 2-1 record in the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in May in Iloilo City are defenders Aly Borromeo, Anton Del Rosario, Emelio Caligdong, Floriano Pasilan Jr. and Neil Etheridge, who plays for the Fulham FC Reserves in London.
Filipino-Dutch recruit Jason De Jong, 18, who plays for NAC Breda in the Netherlands, will make his international debut in the Cambodia tournament.
The Philippines emerged as one of the top two teams during the qualifier held in Bacolod City in November 2006.