Following their heartbreaking experience in Maldives during the last Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, the Bacolod City-based Ceres La Salle FC is hoping to get a favorable result this time when the official draw commences on December 10-12 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Hopefully we will get a good draw for AFC Cup. I think the Ceres team now can surprise a lot of teams in AFC,” said club director and mentor Ali Rojas Go. “There are strong teams in AFC Cup while there are some teams we can really beat,” he added.
“So the draw will be a big factor here. Our target is to make it to the next round of the group stage; this stage is a knockout round. And with the help of our home games in Negros, we can have a good chance,” he added.
The reigning United Football League (UFL) champions have resumed training at the North Football pitch in Talisay City recently. The team is also preparing well for the UFL’s 2015-2016 Season.
Go reiterated that the club will undergo rigid preparations for these two major tournaments next year, where Ceres FC will play 3 home matches in the AFC Cup elimination.
Further, the Ceres FC management is still in the process of signing up new players to strengthen the club’s competitiveness for the upcoming tournaments. “Right now, we are finalizing the details in taking in these players. We will reveal it as soon as everything is complete,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) President Ricky Yanson said they have to ensure that the hosting, including the football facility, meets the requirement of the AFC./WDJ
RHB Singapore Cup Third/Fourth placing: Brunei DPMM vs Global FC
(Friday, 27 November, 5:00pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Brunei DPMM will be looking to finish their season on a winning note when they play Global FC in their RHB Singapore Cup Third/Fourth placing clash on Friday evening at Jalan Besar Stadium.
The Wasps, who are fresh off winning the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2015 title, saw their hopes of doing the double vanished after losing 4-3 on aggregate to Home United in their semi-final second-leg match.
DPMM coach Steve Kean expressed his disappointment at not being able to lift another trophy, but feels that the loss will motivate his players to beat Global and cap off a good season.
“We rather be playing in the finals, than in the third/fourth placing match and we are disappointed in that because we had a good season,” said the Scot.
“We are disappointed in our performance against Home United the other night.. we are disappointed with the result because I thought we played well enough to at least take it to extra time.
“We got a controversial goal disallowed in the last minute that would take it to extra time, so we don't really need to motivate the players because we have set very, very high standards.
“They know now that no matter what game it is..what time this season, they have to try to perform to at least that standard, maybe even more. So the motivation for us is to finish strong and play the way we did for most of the season.”
However, Kean feels that Global will be tough to play against even though they lack match fitness, as they will have much fresher legs than the Wasps.
The Philippines team had not played a single competitive game after the first-leg defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) and their rustiness showed in the second leg when they lost 3-1 on aggregate to the Japanese side.
“We have actually the opposite challenge to (Global coach) Leigh Manson's, because we have played so many competitive games and we are looking for rest days,” said Kean.
“We played in the S.League then a few days later, we played in the (Singapore Cup) semi-final, so we actually don't need to train, but to rest and recover.
“Leigh is correct to say that their game against Albirex helped them increase their sharpness, but all we had to do was just recover and do swimming pool sessions and try to help them keep their fitness for the last time.
“Global pass the ball well, the players are going to press us, they try to dominate possession with good technical players, so I think this will be a really good game between both clubs.”
Meanwhile, Global coach Leigh Manson is eager to play against the Wasps as he feels that the new S.League champions will provide a good challenge for his players.
“We are looking for a strong finish to the season and we have the added incentive that Steve Kean's side are top of the Singapore League, so it is a good benchmark for us,” said the Scot.
“We prefer to play in the finals, but it is a good challenge for the players, something that we always strive for because we always want to raise our levels.
“We are excited to be playing the league's new champions tomorrow night.”
Manson is also looking forward to be the first Philippines side to finish as second-runner up in the Singapore Cup after making history in the AFC Cup this season.
“Global and Brunei have a little bit of history and we have not solved the problem of beating them yet,” he said.
“We can win this game and do what no other Philippines team have done and we did that in the AFC this year.
“We did a lot things that have never been done before - winning the first points in the 0-0 draw with Pahang where we showed the level that these players can play at.
“We take pride in being the first to do things, so we would like to be first team to finish beyond fourth place.”
The match will be streamed LIVE on Voxsports from 4:30pm. Click here to watch: