United City Football Club plans ahead of AFC Cup restart

Beatrice Go

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United City Football Club prepares for its return to the 2020 AFC Cup that's set to reopen on September 23

United City Football Club, formerly known as Ceres-Negros FC, laid out its plans for the 2020 AFC Cup restart that is slated to begin on September 23.

Despite the country’s varying community quarantine guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, the top Southeast Asian club plans to adapt to the circumstances.

“We received the news that we are back to GCQ (general community quarantine), we are back to where we were almost 3 weeks ago,” said club co-founder Eric Gottschalk in a webinar held on Wednesday, August 19.

“So we’ve just been asked [by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF)] to be on standby to redo our tests for players, staff and coaches and we’re waiting for the update if we can resume training.”

If the community quarantine guidelines continue to hinder the club’s preparations for the regional cup tournament, Gottschalk revealed that United City is exploring the option of training in Vietnam – the neutral competition venue agreed upon by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“If the September 23 restart date [pushes through], we might take the team out of the country to where the host city is. If [the AFC Cup] is on October, then we’ll sit it out and wait for PFF,” added Gottschalk.

United City will be without former head coach Risto Vidakovic, but the club is already finalizing the contract with a new mentor, who will work together with playing coach Stephan Schrock to help steer the team back to the Zonal Finals.

United City captain Schrock is also currently training in Germany and applied to be a guest player in a 5th division squad to ramp up his fitness level ahead of the AFC Cup restart.

As Ceres-Negros FC, the club stood on top of Group G with 7 points off 2 wins and 1 draw in the regional cup tournament.

Former club owner and Ceres Liner chairman Leo Rey Yanson sold the team to MMC Sportz Asia, which leads a group of private investors, in order to keep the country’s top football club together. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.