BACOLOD CITY -- Ceres-Negros FC is gearing up for a strong start in its 2020 campaign, beginning with its match against Myanmar’s Shan United in the preliminary stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League on Jan. 14 at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Club administrator Nicolas Golez said it is important for the Bacolod-based squad to start the season strong to establish the groundwork for another successful campaign this year.
“A great result to start the year can set the tone for us and lay the foundation for a really successful campaign,” Golez said in a statement on Monday.
Ceres-Negros, the reigning Philippines Football League and Copa Paulino Alcantara champions will take on their Myanmar League counterparts, who lost to the Busmen twice in the AFC Cup last year and on penalties in the AFC Champions League preliminaries in 2018 in Yangon.
In 2019, the PFL champions exited early from the continental club competition after losing to Myanmar’s Yangon United.
Golez said the team is preparing well for the match against Shan United, which he considers as “a dangerous team”.
Ceres-Negros, mentored by Risto Vidakovic, is bannered by AFC Cup top scorer Bienvenido Maranon and Southeast Asian Best XI awardee Stephan Schrock, who are backed by defender Super Herrera and goalkeeper Roland Muller.
With their strong performances in the previous year, James Younghusband, Robert Mendy, and Takashi Odawara, who joined the team as mid-season signings, will also boost the Busmen’s campaign this year.
Ceres-Negros will also rely on Mike Ott, OJ Porteria, Jeff Christiaens, Junior Munoz, Dennis Villanueva, Sean Kane, Angelo Marasigan, Dylan De Bruycker, Tristan Robles, Ron Bayan, and Jun Badelic to dominate the season anew.
The Busmen will play their matches for the AFC tournaments at Rizal Memorial Stadium this year as their home pitch, the Panaad Park and Stadium here is undergoing a major facelift in preparation for Negros Occidental and Bacolod’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa in 2021. (PNA)