Filipino Ceres-Negros FC will open its 2017 AFC Cup campaign match with an away match against Hanoi FC in the My Dinh National Stadium in Vietnam.
The Negros based squad will see new players complementing its core players such as Michael Casas, Bienvenido Maranon, Carli de Murga, and Martin Steuble. Azkal veterans Roland Muller, Jason de Jong, OJ Porteria, Junior Munoz, Simone Rota, and Ian Ramsay have joined the fold together with youngsters Joshua Grommen, Jorrel Aristorenas, and recent signing Luke Woodland.They will also be joined with new foreign players in Kota Kawase, Manuel “Super” Herrera, and Fernando Rodriguez.
It will be a challenging trip for the Bacolod squad as it will matched up with the club who has been ranked either first or second in the last seven years of V.League 1, Vietnam’s top tier. The team features Vietnam’s top National players in Phamn Than Luong and Nguyen Van Quyet, who have been a thorn against the Philippines in the past AFF Cups. Hanoi FC also has interesting players with the likes of Argentinean striker Gonzalo Marronkle, Nigerian-born Vietnamese Hoang Vu Samson, and former Azkal Alvaro Silva. The current Vietnamese squad also has bery talented young players in midfielders Nguyen Quang Hai, Do Duy Manh, and defender Tan Van Kien.
Hanoi qualified to the AFC Cup as the 2016 champions of V.League 1 which also allowed them to participate in the preliminary rounds of the AFC Champions League (ACL). The club been participating in the ACL preliminaries and playoff the past few years but has always fell short of the group stage when facing tougher opposition in the final playoff match.
Ceres will come in the match with depth in every postion even after losing many of its players for the last couple of years. “I think with he players we have now, I think everyone can play first eleven. and of course we lost (Stephan) Schrock we lost Paul (Mulders), two very experienced players. I think our players now are younger and more eager to give everything. I hope that they grab this opportunity they have playing in the afc even if they’re young its a very good exposure for them also show us, the management, and staff that they belong here,” said Ceres Club Director Ali Go.
It will be a crucial match for the Busmen as the change in AFC CUp format will only allow the top teams and the best runner up of the three ASEAN groups to qualify foe the ASEAN Zonal semi-final. The match will kickoff at 7PM Manila time and will be live over cable channel Fox Sports 2.