By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
Ceres-La Salle FC is not taking their opponents lightly.
This was stressed by Ceres FC head coach Ali Go during yesterday’s press conference.
The club will play against Selangor FC (Malaysia) on February 23 and Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd. on May 10 for the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group E Qualifiers at the Panaad Park and Stadium. Their games will continue on April 12 against Tampines Rovers FC (Singapore) at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Go said although they have reviewed videos of Selangor and Tampines Rovers’ previous matches, these teams might have undergone recent developments.
“We look into these teams seriously. They are strong teams in their respective leagues,” he added.
And to ensure that the Bacolod-based club is ready against their AFC counterparts, the Ceres FC will have tune-up matches against JP Voltes on January 26 and Stallions on January 28 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and at the Laguna field, respectively.
On February 1 and 3, Ceres FC will face Balestier Khalsa FC and Albirex Niigata Singapore FC, respectively, in Singapore.
Both Balestier Khalsa and Albirex Niigata play with Singapore’s S. League. The latter is a satellite team of Albirex Niigata of Japan, and its players come from Japan.
With the acquisition of Fil-German standouts Stephan Schröck and Kevin Ingreso, Go said there’s no doubt that the team is stronger now.
“The addition of Schröck and Ingreso are of big help to the team. We became a deeper team as our first eleven and second team can play at a given time. Hopefully, we’re ready before our first match,” he added.
“They are experienced players,” Go stressed, “but this is a team sport. All players will have to work hard and the cohesion of the team is very important to score a win. Though Ceres became a strong team with Schröck and Ingreso in the roster, 1 or 2 or even 9 players cannot beat a team of 11 that play as a team. We have to play as a team to make all players count.”
On why he chose Ceres FC, Schröck said his team in Germany (SpVgg Greuther Fürth) asked him to search for another club to play. Although there were offers from teams in the Middle East, he wanted to play for the Philippines because “I was happy with the Philippines and wanted to play for the UFL.”
Ingreso, on his part, said it was Patrick Reichelt and Manny Ott who talked to him and told him good things about Ceres.
Ceres FC is led by Fil-Spanish skipper Juani Guirado alongside Jason Sabio, Ott, Carli de Murga, Paul Mulders, Arnie Pasinabo Jr., Jason Panhay, Nate Burkey, Martin Steuble, Louie Michael Casas, Jeffrey Christiaens, Reichelt, Jalsor Soriano, Eduardo Sacapaño, Angeles twins Marvin and Marwin, Ingreso, and Schröck, and foreign reinforcements Koreans Son Yong-chanm and Kim Sang-min, Irish Orman Okunaiya, Nigerian Valentine Kama, and Spanish Adrián Gallardo and Bienvenido Marañón./
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