MANILA, Philippines -- Reigning UFL champion Global FC opens its bid in the AFC President's Cup before an expectedly huge crowd at the Cebu City Sports Complex Wednesday night, May 8.
As the Philippines' first representative in the tournament for clubs in "emerging" soccer countries in Asia, Global battles Bhutan's Yeedzin at 7:30pm in Group B action.
Global team owner Dan Palami believes that his club's participation in the tournament will open doors for other Filipino teams to play in international events.
"This is not just for Global," he said at the PSA Forum Tuesday, May 7. "But a milestone for club football in the Philippines. This is something new for us."
"We may be the first, but we will not be the last Filipino club to participate in the tournament," Palami, who is also the manager of the Philippine Azkals.
Despite the stiff competition in the meet, Palami is optimistic of Global’s chances in the tournament, having notched three straight wins in the UFL, before leaving for Cebu last Friday.
Global is powered by 9 Azkals, including regular starters Carli de Murga and Juani Guirado, goalkeeper Ed Sacapano and midfielders Patrick Reichelt, Misagh Bahadoran, Jeffrey Christiaens, Marwin Angeles, Jason de Jong and Denis Wolf.
“We are in a good position to win this tournament with the crowd in Cebu also helping us,” said Palami. “We have quite a strong club. We have a good coach and a good system that we are implementing.”
Ben Starosta, a former Polish Under-19 player, and Ivorian goalkeeper Mousa Sanogo will reinforce the squad coached by Scottish mentor Brian Reid, who led AYR United to promotion to the Scottish first division two years ago.
But Palami believes the performance of his local players will be the key to their success. “It’s going to be a show for the local players. We have several options and if everybody follows the system, I think we will have a good chance,” he said. “We just hope our progress willbe as phenomenal as with the Azkals.” - Rappler.com