The International break was not kind to Pinoy football club Ceres-Negros FC. Aside from sending a four-man contingent to the Azkals training camp, ace midfielder Manny Ott returned with a MCL injury that will keep him out for weeks. Despite the growing injury list and added fatigue to the players, the Bacolod squad is still confident that they can stay the course in their pursuit of the PFL title.
“That’s the problem of our team especially injuries,” said assistant Coach Ian Treyes who spoke in yesterday’s pre-match press conference in the match with Kaya FC. “We have some players also to replace the injured ones and the team is still in high spirits to win the game,” he added.
Martin Steuble is one of the players sidelined with an injury for the Negros squad. The Ceres-Negros co-captain is positive that the club can overcome the temporary setback like they have done earlier in the season.
“I think we’ve shown in the past that we are always able to come up with solutions,” said Steuble. “For example, we played without Schrocky in the first part of the AFC Cup and we did good. Bienve (Maranon) didn’t start in the ASEAN final and we got a good result. Now Manu (Ott) is sidelined for a few weeks, of course he will be missed, but I think with the depth in our squad, we are able to find replacements and do some little adjustments,” he added.
Aside from injuries, international duty has also been a concern for the Negros club. Players called up to the national team were given a week’s break prior to the October window for them to get plenty of rest before representing the country. The Ceres assistant believes that the returning players are ready despite the hectic schedule.
“With the previous situation, we have the Azkals players on recovery training when they rejoin the team. Then for the game, its up to Coach Risto if he will start them or give them minutes. But the team is still ready for any eventuality,” said Treyes
Steuble echoed the coach’s remarks and is looking forward to the match. “I think in today’s football everybody is replaceable and I think with a few adjustments, everything will be fine. I’m convinced that we can still beat a strong opponent in Kaya tomorrow.”
Ceres-Negros embarks on an eight-game stretch that starts on October 14 with Kaya-Makati and ends on Nov 8 against JPV Marikina. They will then complete the PFL regular season on November 28 when they face Global in Cebu City.