Schafer pleased with Azkals’ foreign-based stars' absence for 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

Thailand head coach is pleased his side will not have to face Philippines’ Europe-based players after the Azkals manager confirmed absentees for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012
Winfried Schafer has expressed his happiness at not having to face Philippines' overseas-based star players.

Schafer had flown to Cebu to catch the Azkals' game against Singapore, in which Philippines won 1-0.

After the game, Philippines head coach Michael Weiss told Schafer that Bristol Rovers' Neil Etheridge and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim midfielder Stephen Schrock are among some players who will not be joining up with the Azkals in their Suzuki Cup campaign.

"He showed good demeanour after we told him that Neil and Schrock will not play for sure, he even asked if this is true and gave a big thumbs up,” Weiss quipped on the Thai coach's reactions upon hearing the news.

Philippines may not have some of their players joining up with the squad, but Schafer is still wary of the Azkals, who Thailand face on November 24 for their opening match in the Suzuki Cup.

"They have big and strong players similar to Palestine,", said the German.

"And more importantly, they play with understanding because they have good preparation and counter-attack [abilities].

"Hence, we have to be calm and pass accurately, we still have a couple of days to prepare."

While still in the midst of their preparation, Schafer has also cut six-players from his preliminary squad, with another five set to follow before Schafer submits his final 22-man squad list for the tournament.

Schafer has thanked the players who were axed for their contribution, and urge them to carry on working hard to be in contention for the Asian Cup qualifiers in January.

The six players being sent home are Wichaya Dechmitr, Tana Chanabut, Jetsadakorn Hemdaeng,  Attapong Nooprom, Surachart Sareepim, and Rattana Petch-Aporn.