MANILA, Philippines - Ceres-La Salle FC can lean on the home field advantage and crowd support in the Asian Football Confederation President’s Cup group stages as the Philippines got hosting rights for Group B hostilities in May in Bacolod City.
“Barring unforeseen events, the Philippines will host one of the Group Stages, and Panaad will be the venue,” PFF general-secretary Ed Gastanes told The STAR.
Ceres FC, back-to-back titlists in the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship, will try to hold fort at the Panaad pitch against North Korea’s Rimyongsu, Turkmenistan’s FC HTTU, and Chinese-Taipei’s Tatung.
The draw for the international competition for clubs from “emerging countries” was held Friday in Kuala Lumpur and debuting Ceres expects to have its hands full against its Group B rivals.
Rimyongsu is making history by being the first club from North Korea to compete in the President’s Cup and is determined to go further. On the other hand, both FC HTTU from Ashgabat and Tatung from Taipei have been to the semifinals before (2010 and 2006, respectively) and are out to do better this year.
In preparation for this campaign, Ceres has beefed up its roster with the acquisition of forward Arnie Pasinabo Jr., twins Marvin and Marwin Angeles, German Kevin Umberto Capolei, Fil-Spanish Carli de Murga, and Fil-German Patrick Reichelt.
The group winner and runner-up will advance to the President’s Cup’s final stage in September, along with the top two teams of the other groups, to be played in Sri Lanka and Mongolia.
Last year’s runner-up KRL from Pakistan will compete against host Sri Lanka Air Force FC, Sheikh Russel Krira Chakara Limited of Bangladesh, and Ugyen Academy of Bhutan in an all-South Asian Group A while 2010 semifinalist Erchim of Mongolia will host Manang Marshyangdi of Nepal and Svayrieng of Cambodia in Group C.
This will be the second time for Phl to host the President’s Cup, having staged one of the group stages last year in Cebu City with Global FC representing Phl.