MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship will resume on Thursday, January 22 for its round of eight stage at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The national group round of the countrywide football meet will banner the top eight football clubs that underwent the elimination round in several locations around the country during the past months.
The remaining teams will be divided into two groups with the defending champions of the nationwide tourney Ceres-La Salle FC seeded in Group A while UFL champs Global are in Group B. Meanwhile, remaining teams Loyola FC and Kaya FC, both representing the UFL and the NCRFA, will form Group A together with Laos FC of Leyte. M'lang FC of North Cotabato, Erco-Brothers FC of Cebu and Stallion FC of Iloilo will form the rest of Group B.
"I think its a tough group but I think I'm getting used to it because we always end up in a tough group. I think its gonna be very exciting and we're looking forward to it," said Ceres FC club director Ali Go during the pre-tournament press conference at the PFF headquarters.
He added that they cannot be complacent.
"Pressure is always there especially now were back-to-back champions. But anything can happen," he stated.
Consequently, local football powerhouse Global FC, who is still yet to add a national crown unto their list of victories, aims to take their rivals on their group head on.
"We cannot be complacent. We'll prepare the same for the Stallion game and with the other teams. We're not taking this group lightly," according to head coach Leigh Manson.
Group A will have matches on the 22nd and the 24th while Group B will have their games on the 23rd and 25th.
The first match date on Thursday for Group A will feature a bout between Loyola FC and Laos FC followed by Ceres FC versus Kaya FC.
Admission is free for all the games for the tournament. – Rappler.com