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Stallion Laguna reveals 26-man squad for 2019 season

Stallion Laguna Head Coach, Ernest Nierras, made known in the afternoon of January 31, the list of players who will comprise the upcoming season’s squad.

Familiar names remain with the addition of solid reinforcements as Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto probably the biggest coup for Stallion which may have finally got its final piece of the puzzle from a defensive standpoint [although Deyto’s debut could be at a much later date as he is still on the road to full recovery and fitness after undergoing a corrective surgery of his injured right middle finger].

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Mid-week motivation.

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Homegrown stars and mainstays such as Jesus Melliza, Fitch Arboleda, team captain Ruben Doctora, Nathan Alquiros and Matthew Nierras are once again expected to banner and lead by example in their respective roles for the new campaign.

Meanwhile, foreign player Abou Sy who has been a revelation for the squad in the previous season [proving initial doubters wrong after an underwhelming start], will once again provide the much needed space, creativity and opportunities from the midfield or [on some occasions] the forward line.

However, it is a fact that a significant number of quality players also headed the exit doors with battling, yet creative, midfielder from Switzerland Carlo Polli probably the biggest name to depart, along with solid defender Ko Kyung-joon, forward Yannick Tuason, and midfield sensation Paolo Bugas who make up four of a total of nine players who either opted to move on or are deemed surplus to requirements.

According to Coach Ernest, midfielder Polli went back to his home country after securing a contract to play for a Swiss club.

This void is where new signings such as Andoni Suescum, OJ and Ian Clarino, Joshua Kim and Kim Deonghyeon [to name a few] need to shine in order to not just fill the gaps vacated, but maybe even surpass the achievements of the players they are replacing.

As of this writing, it is still unconfirmed if the Binan-based club have already committed or will be on-board to compete in the Philippine Premier League, but it seems that the organization’s stable already set up and ready to mount some serious challenge for the upcoming season with a good mix of tried-and-tested homegrown talents and promising foreign-player acquisitions.

Photo credits: Mark Anthony Malcampo

Related article: Deyto, Gadia, Clarinos in as Stallion Laguna make 7 key signings for 2019

Transfer News: Jordan Jarvis joins Hong Kong’s Eastern from Global

Vince Soliven contributed to the story pertaining on the transfer details.

News broke via Football in HK’s Twitter account in the morning of January 31, 2019 that former Ateneo de Manila defender and capped Philippine international, Jordan Jarvis, has completed a transfer to Eastern Sports Club from Global Cebu FC.

The development has been confirmed by Jordan’s father and Global CEO, Mark Jarvis, in an on-line interview and has divulged that the move has actually been completed two days ago as of this writing.

What’s beneficial to Eastern with Jordan’s joining their ranks is he registered as a local player before Hong Kong FA’s update to the rule, thus the move is not affecting the club’s foreign player quota.

Where does Global Cebu FC go from here?

Despite the movement of Jordan, Mark Jarvis assured that he remains as the owner and CEO of Global and is aware of the current situation and on-going financial challenges of the organization.

“[Global is] sorting the matter and we expect players to be paid [hopefully] this coming week,” according to the chairman of the financially beleaguered club.

“We shall be announcing a new partner soon,” added Mr. Jarvis in line with the possible cashflow that the club will have.

It is to note that one former player of Global has divulged his grievances in an online post [though the contents were not public and limited only to the footballing community] regarding the issue of overly delayed wages, which until now, are not yet settled.

But the Global executive has informed that there are plans to get the club out of trouble, the details of which are still confidential.

Photo credit: Mark Jarvis

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Where to go as a football fan in Bacolod

Ceres-Negros supporter and Ultras Filipinas member, Jan Eleven Gozon, also provided inputs in this writeup.

Bacolod has a lot to offer for a generic tourist, there are The Ruins, Capitol Park and New Government Center as some points of interest. For a gastronomic experience, one can check out bakeshops and cafes like Calea, and food havens like Manokan Country, Diotay’s eatery, and many others. But here are the places to not miss out in Bacolod if you are a BIG football fan.

NOTE: This is not a paid promotion or advertisement of sorts but a fan service for football followers who happen to be in Bacolod – The City of Smiles – and want to have a football-centric tour of the city that is outside the realm of the usual tourist activities.

For pickup games [natural pitch]: Sta. Maria Football Field

Itching to play on the pitch with your mates? Then head over to Sta. Maria Football field in nearby Talisay City which has a natural grass surface. With its location just beside The Ruins, which is a very famous [never-miss] tourist attraction and along the way to Bacolod-Silay airport, it’s a very convenient spot to have that game of football.

Sta. Maria Football Field is located in Talisay, Negros Occidental beside The Ruins. Book a ride via Grab to reach the place.

Pickup games [Futsal]: Juan Multipurpose Gym

If one prefers the convenience and much better practicality [for tourists] of a futsal game instead, one can go to go to Juan Multipurpose Gym. Located right along Lacson Street, it is conveniently located in the commercial area where several hotels are located.

Juan Multipurpose Gym is at 22 Lacson Street Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

A football themed cafe? Head to “El Fanatico”

When it comes to a football-themed cafe, there is only one place to visit in Bacolod: El Fanatico Coffee Shack. Founded and owned by Ceres-Negros’ super-fan, Jan Gozon, the place just lives and breathes football with a bunch of memorabilia displayed from different clubs, both local and abroad. Of course, their coffee there is a must try to perk you up throughout the day.

If you feel like it and are in a generous mood, you may bring extra club or country memorabilia to be given as token to Jan, which he will happily add to the display as part of the ever growing represented clubs and national teams in the cafe’s walls.

El Fanatico is located at Block 5, Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City. You may checkout their Facebook page for store hours and other updates for the day. It can also be reached by booking a ride via Grab.

Enjoy good food while watching your favorite club? Hat Trick Sports Grill

You still have a day or two left in Bacolod and it will coincide with a crucial match of your beloved club? Worry not, because there’s Hat Trick Sports Grill – the only place to go to in Bacolod to enjoy football with food. Whether it’s La Liga, Premier League, the Champions League, or the FIFA World Cup, if there’s a big match, Hat Trick will most likely have that on their screens!

Hat Trick Sports Grill is located at The Marketplace, Circumferential Road Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Watch a big match: Panaad Park and Stadium

If you are a football fan and visiting Bacolod, there’s no doubt the main reason why you are in the city – to catch the big match in Panaad Stadium. The home of Ceres-Negros FC,  and even The Azkals, Panaad has seen many monumental matches in football and it has already become an iconic and historic site in the “City of Smiles” due to the international footballing events that it hosted [AFC Cup, AFC Champions League qualifiers and AFF Suzuki Cup].

Panaad Park and Stadium is located at Panaad Access Road, Bacolod, 6100 Negros Occidental.

Whether you are in Bacolod as a home fan, or a visiting away supporter, the places mentioned are definitely some that must not be missed in the city as a football fan for a unique experience in a country where the sport is still in its growing phase.

Photo credits: Rommel Baylon Concepcion, El Fanatico Coffee Shack, Hat Trick Sports Grill, Juan Multipurpose Gym

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Kaya FC’s new kits have arrived; public release in the works

Along with Kaya FC Iloilo’s partnership with new kit provider, Adidas, the club has received info from the German athletic brand that the [player edition] kits have just arrived as of January 29, 2019 according to Kaya FC General Manager Paul Tolentino.

With this development, it is possible that the final designs will be released to the public’s knowledge very soon [it is to note that the current kits being worn in preseason matches are not yet the final designs].

Now, is the more important stuff for fans: When will the kits’ availability to be purchased by the public be? Although, there is no definite date yet, the club executive shared that the matter is already being sorted out.

Kaya FC Iloilo General Manager – Paul Tolentino

“Hopefully sometime around the AFC Cup campaign we can start having it available for the general public,” stated Mr. Tolentino in an interview after the Kaya’s friendly preseason match against Ceres-Negros.

As for where the availability of the defending Copa Paulino Alcantara champions’ new “three stripes” kits be, a very familiar chain of stores for Filipino football fans are gonna be the initial places to be copping ’em fresh.

“We’ll be selling through Bootcamp [Football Shop] to begin with. It is also to my knowledge that Bootcamp will soon have an online store so it should be able to reach more people outside Metro Manila and Cebu.”

Along with the new kit partnership which will come into the spotlight in their first major campaign which is the AFC Cup 2019, the general manager shared the organization’s overall excitement when asked how it is to be back in the continental stage after being absent for two editions following their debut in 2016.

“We are happy to be back [in the AFC Cup]. We feel like that’s where we should be and we have 30 days to prepare so there’s still quite a bit of work to do to get ready for the first game.”

Kaya FC Iloilo will kick-off the AFC Cup campaign on February 27, 2019 in an away fixture against Laotian club Lao Toyota. The first home match meanwhile is set on March 13, 2019 with Singaporean club and current ASEAN Zone Champions Home United as the opponent.

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Deyto, Gadia, Clarinos in as Stallion Laguna make 7 key signings for 2019

In anticipation of the 2019 season, Stallion Laguna have officially completed seven key signings for their squad bannered by Philippine Azkals’ goalkeeper Patrick Deyto and midfielder Daniel Gadia, and brothers Ian and OJ Clarino.

As per head coach Ernest Nierras, the signings have been completed as of January 29, 2019.

Patrick Deyto joins from Davao Aguilas FC. Patrick has had a stellar showing the past two PFL seasons with Global Cebu and Davao Aguilas in 2017 and 2018 seasons, respectively. He also suited up for the Azkals in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, playing between the posts in the second leg of the semifinal match against Vietnam.

However, a chronic fracture dislocation in Patrick’s right middle finger prompted a corrective surgery which ruled him out of the 2019 Asian Cup. He is still on the road to recovery as of this moment.

Midfielder Daniel Gadia also joins in from Davao Aguilas. he has been a stalwart for the club and had commendable stints as well with Global Cebu and FC Meralco Manila before heading south of the metro. He is a product of the University of the Philippines where he was able to enjoy a highly successful collegiate career in the UAAP.

OJ Clarino was initially signed in the second half of the previous PFL season by Stallion, but it seems this season is when he will formally suit up after recovering from a lengthy knee injury, while Ian Clarino joins in after having a stellar collegiate career in the UAAP for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons under coach Anto Gonzales.

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Mid-week motivation.

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Three more players who complete the seven key acquisitions are: South Koreans Joshua Kim and Kim Donghyeon, and Filipino-Swedish Andoni Nugas Seuscum.

Joshua Kim is a midfielder who played for Yangpyeong FC, while Kim Donghyeon is a centre-back from Cho Dang university.

Andoni Nugas Seuscum meanwhile, is also a midfielder from Svensk-Palenstinska FF whose Filipino mother hailed from Tacloban, Leyte.

Aside from key signings, an important addition to head coach Ernest Nierras’ wards is Selu Lozano of Makati Football Club [MFC], who joins in as more than just a player.

“Selu Lozano will be joining Stallion as a player as well as a corporate partner. MFC will be merging with Stallion Youth Academy and will be named Stallion MFC Youth Academy,” shared Coach Ernest in an interview.

Stallion Laguna FC will soon release their complete lineup for the 2019 campaign.

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Toni Doblas’ tenure with Ceres-Negros ends, hints at possible retirement

Ceres-Negros FC confirmed via their social media channels that Spanish veteran goalkeeper Toni Doblas’ stint with the Filipino club has come to end.

The keeper himself followed up with a social media post confirming that his affiliation with the busmen has indeed come to end, he even hinted of a possible retirement.

But English journalist, Sid Lowe, who is covering Spanish football was quick to reply to the keeper with some words of encouragement.

Toni Doblas has been the first choice goalkeeper of head coach Risto Vidakovic in the 2018 season . His arrival has been one of the biggest news for the club in the buildup to thepast year’s campaign due to his impressive resume where he played for and built a name for renowned La Liga clubs Real Betis and Real Zaragoza.

He began his Asian sojourn playing for India’s Delhi Dynamos in 2015-16, before being with Ceres-Negros as his most recent stop where he was able to help the club attain the 2018 Philippines Football League championship – the busmen’s second straight domestic league title in the fully professional era.

He also featured in the club’s momentous AFC Champions League qualifying campaign reaching the playoff round where they were able to beat Brisbane Roar before eventually being eliminated by Tianjin Quanjian against the likes of star players Pato and Axel Witsel.

In the 2018 AFC Cup, Toni Doblas was instrumental in the club’s run to the ASEAN Zonal Final where they lost to Singaporean club, Home United.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

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Azkals centre-back Alvaro Silva joins Ceres-Negros

After a highly commendable with the Azkals in both the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Philippine Azkals defender Alvaro Silva officially joins Philippine Premier League side Ceres-Negros FC as announced via the club’s social media channels.

Alvaro Silva will be on a two-year contract as announced by the player through his Instagram post.

Before joining the Philippine Football’s top-flight reigning champs, Ceres-Negros, it was known that Alvaro’s contract with Malaysian Super League club Kedah FA had come to an end making him unattached during the Azkals’ international campaigns and it seems the Bacolod-based Busmen pounced on the opportunity to get the services of the defender to further enforce the backline.

It is to note that Ceres-Negros are about to commence an arduous 2019 AFC Champions League qualification campaign with a home fixture against Yangon United in the preliminary phase which is the first of three challenges before ensuring their participation in the tournament proper’s group stage.

Aside from coming in from Kedah, 34-year-old Alvaro Silva is an experienced defender making a name in Spain with Malaga from the youth ranks up to the senior squad, before being a journeyman starting with loans and stints with European clubs then into Asia with tenures in the Middle East with Al-Qadsia of Kuwait, East Asia with Daejeon Citizen of South Korea, and finally Southeast Asia with Ha Noi FC of Vietnam and the aforementioned Malaysian club Kedah FA.

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#ilovethisgame #focus ⚽️❤️🇵🇭

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As for the Azkals, he has been part of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s starting lineup in both the AFF Suzuki Cup and Asian Cup campaigns. His supposed debut in a tournament proper for the Philippines in the Suzuki Cup had been delayed due to some paperworks that needed to be completed, until finally suiting up in a 1-1 draw against Thailand [Philippines’ third match of the campaign].

Ceres-Negros will have a friendly match against Kaya FC Iloilo in the afternoon of January 29, 2019 in McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig before their February 5 fixture in Bacolod against Yangon United for the AFC Champions League qualifiers which will be shown on ESPN5’s 5Plus.

Related reading: Ceres-Negros announce key signings

Photo credit: AFF Suzuki Cup

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Transfer news: Former Kaya FC forward Robert Lopez Mendy joins Malaysia Premier League club UiTM

Kaya FC Iloilo’s 2018 top goalscoring Senegalese striker, Robert Lopez Mendy has joined Malaysia Premier League club Universiti Teknologi MARA Football Club [UiTM] for the 2019 season.

The 31-year-old actually suited up for the Shah-Alam, Selangor-based club last January 26, 2019 in a 3-0 friendly loss against Patrick Reichelt’s new club, Melaka United.

It is not yet confirmed if there has already been a formal unveiling of this acquisition on the part of UiTM, but according to Kaya FC head coach, Noel Marcaida, as far as the Iloilo club is concerned, the player is already signed to the Malaysian club.

UiTM are about to begin their 2019 campaign in an away fixture on February 1, 2019 against Persatuan Bolasepak Polis Di-Raja Malaysia (Royal Malaysia Police Football Association or PDRM in short).

Robert Lopez Mendy had a stellar 2018 season by scoring more than 20 goals in all competitions for a total of 51 career goals for the club and helping Kaya FC Iloilo win the Copa Paulino Alcantara en-route to AFC Cup 2019 qualification.

Photo credit: UiTM Facebook Page

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Former Azkals Head Coach Thomas Dooley to write a book and set up academy in the Philippines

In a Facebook post, former Philippine Akals head coach and former US Soccer MNT captain Thomas Dooley is in the process of authoring his own book, while at the same, time building a football academy in the Philippines that aims to help the country qualify for the World Cup.

Without divulging much about the details about the book, Coach Dooley – who guided the Azkals towards their first ever Asian Cup qualification – informed that it will be more of either a memoir or an autobiography in nature.

Thomas Dooley, aside from being the national team’s former head coach and a former captain of the US Soccer Men’s National Team [who featured in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup tournaments], also played club football mainly as a defender in the German Bundesliga where he became a multi-titled player in the process by winning the 1990 DFB Pokal [Germany’s equivalent to the League Cup], the 1990-91 German Super Cup and the 1990-91 German Bundesliga title with 1. FC Kaiserslautern, while adding the UEFA Cup in 1996-97 with Schalke 04.

He also played in the USA’s Major League Soccer for clubs Columbus Crew and New Jersey Metro Stars [now known as New York Red Bulls] in the latter part of his already stellar career.

Aside from the book, the coach [in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas 2 show “Sports Eye” last January 23, 2019] also has a plan for 2026 which is to help the Philippines qualify for the World Cup by working at the youth level through putting together a football academy which will be free for the players.

“I don’t want an academy for the rich people. [I want it] for [finding] the [right] quality [of players],” Thomas Dooley shared.

“I think there is a huge market over here for football. That’s why I think if we do the right thing in the future, we can create a football culture in this country and if I can do that in my spare time or even full-time, then I would be happy,” added Thomas Dooley.

Thomas Dooley began his tenure as the head coach of the Philippines’ senior football team in February 2014 on a one-year contract. A run of encouraging results earned him two more extensions that ran until March 2018.

Although even after guiding the Philippine National Football Team to its first ever Asian Cup, Dooley’s contract was never renewed or extended.

In spite of his direct involvement with the Philippines coming to a close, the coach opted to stay in the country and be more involved in the youth level via the building of the aforementioned academy in which the venue is still being deliberated and yet to be finalised.

“I’ve been here [in the Philippines, for the past] five years [and] I haven’t left,” shared the coach to Radyo Pilipinas 2.

“I love it over here. I could go back to the US or maybe in Germany… [but] I always want to live here.”

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Azkals’ mercurial winger Patrick Reichelt #11 officially unveiled by Melaka United

The Philippine Azkals and former Ceres-Negros FC winger Patrick Reichelt has been formally introduced by his new club, Melaka United as an ASEAN import player during the kit and squad launch this afternoon of January 26, 2019.

Patrick Reichelt is assigned the number 11 in his kit as he joins Malaysian internationals, midfielder Safiq Rahim and goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi.

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After his duty with the Philippines in their historic first ever AFC Asian Cup campaign, Patrick Reichelt only passed by Manila for a brief stop-over before immediately heading to Malacca in southwestern Malaysia for his transfer.

His brief on-pitch appearance in a preseason friendly last January 21 served as his “unofficial introduction” to the Melaka United faithfuls while awaiting for his formal presentation.

Patrick Reichelt has been one of the brightest performers during the Philippine Azkals’ run to the semifinals stage in the recently concluded 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup where he was able to score two goals in crucial matches. He was also a starter under head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson during the whole of the Azkals’ 2019 Asian Cup participation.

More importantly, Reichelt has been one of coach Risto Vidakovic’s main cogs in Ceres-Negros’ “Machine of 2017-18” which ushered the club’s meteoric rise not only through its dominance in the domestic front [back to back PFL titles] but also in being a recognised Filipino club in the Asian continent through its competitive showings in the AFC Cup [2017 ASEAN Champions] and the qualifiers of the 2018 AFC Champions League.

As of the moment, the Filipino international is in the middle of trainings and preparations with his new club teammates for the 2019 Malaysia Super League season which begins on February 2, 2019 in a home fixture against Petaling Jaya City FC that kicks-off at 9:00 PM [Malaysia and the Philippines have no time difference].

The main purpose of the event was to unveil Melaka United’s kits for the 2019 season in which all players that comprise the squad ahead of the campaign were introduced.

Photo credit: Screengrab of Melaka United’s Facebook Live event