DEFENDING champion Ceres-La Salle FC begins its title retention bid in the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship 2014 when the Group Qualifier kicks off Friday, September 26, at the North Football Field in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.
The Bacolod-based squad will be challenged by Cluster 1 winner Dipolog MC FC, representing the Zamboanga del Norte-Dipolog Football Association and Cluster 6 top team San Beda FC of the Rizal FA.
Ceres FC defended its title last year with a 2-1 and 1-nil win over the Azkals-studded Global FC in a home-and-away format championships played at Panaad Park and Stadium which earned them the right to represent the Philippines in the Asean Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup.
Against three foreign clubs FC HTTU of Turkmenistan, Tatung Company of Chinese Taipei, and the Rimyongsu Club of the People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), the home team failed to advance in the tournament’s final stage after losing to FC HTTU of Turkmenistan, 2-1.
Ceres-La Salle FC Director Ali Bernard Go said the team is working hard with full support of the management to achieve its goal of bringing Philippine football to the next level.
While facing the challenges of having several players playing in the national team, Go said they have been working closely with the Azkals’ management on how to deal with some issues concerning Ceres’ players.
“While the club is looking at some tough tournaments onward, we are also looking at arranging details on rendering service to the country. All these events are important to us at Ceres, and we are not taking things lightly or selecting which to prioritize,” he said.
Go added: “To be in a tournament is an opportunity, but to represent the country is an honor.You are playing not only for the prize but for pride. I know the feeling because I once wore the national color.”
The Bacolod-based club, headed by Korean mentor Cha Soungyooung, will be bannered by team captain Fil-Spanish defender Juani Guirado, co-skipper and goalkeeper Michael Casas, second choice keeper Bago City-native Eduard Sacapaño, Fil-Ams forward Nate Burkey and defender Jason Sabio, Fil-Belgian wingers Jeffrey Christaeans and Angelo Marasigan; Fil-German midfielders Manny Ott and Patrick Reichelt, Fil-Italian twins Marvin and Marwin Angeles, Fil-Spanish right back Carlie de Murga, Talisay City’s Camelo Tacusalme and Jalsor Soriano, San Carlos City’s Arnie Pasinabo Jr., Lemuel Unabia, J Baguioro, and Jayson Panhay; Foreign reinforcements Spanish veteran forward Adrián Gallardo, Irish-Nigerian Orman Okunaiya, German Kevin Capolei, and Koreans Jin ho Kim, Kim Sang min, Kyum-Son Cho, and Yong Chan Son.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 24, 2014.