One of the much-awaited debutants for the Philippine Azkals will miss the team’s crucial joint 2022 FIFA World Cup/2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
In an announcement by German club VfL Bochum, winger Gerrit Holtmann was unable to accomplish the necessary paperwork necessary to compete for the Philippines. This eliminates him from contention against the likes of Guam, Maldives, and China, whom the country will be facing in Suzhou next month.
A translated part of his team’s social media post on its Instagram account stated, “Unfortunately there won’t be a (debut) for Gerrit Holtmann. The 26-year-old received an invitation from the Philippine Football Federation for the first time.
“However, due to a lack of documents, Holtmann’s debut has to be postponed indefinitely.”
Holtmann, 26, was seeking dual citizenship since March of 2021 as his mother is Filipino.
His papers were on pace to make it, but the Bundesliga needed to enter a bubble from May 2-23 to finish their season. Holtmann was only able to get out of the bubble last May 24.
This development comes as a big blow for Scott Cooper as he plots to guide the Philippines into the third qualifying round of the Asian Cup at the very least.
Holtmann would have provided another option up front for the Azkals. He was part of the Bochum side that secured promotion to the Bundesliga, Germany’s top football league, after 11 seasons in the second division. His individual contributions include four goals and six assists in 30 appearances.
As it stands, only 13 players so far have been present during the team’s training camp in Doha, Qatar.
Matt Baldissimo, Mark Hartmann, Niko De Vera, Mar Diano, Angel Guirado, Alvaro Silva, Mark Winhoffer, Stephan Schröck, Luke Woodland, Bernd Schipmann, Jarvey Gayoso, Patrick Reichelt, and Michael Kempter are deep into preparations for the upcoming matches.
Newly-signed United City defender Justin Bass has been a late call-up for the team. Meanwhile, there is hope that goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will catch up with the squad after his marriage a few days ago.