Kaya FC Iloilo strengthens its goalkeeping personnel ahead of a busy 2019 season as 22-year-old Zach Banzon signs an extension that keeps him in the club on long-term contract, while 32-year-old veteran Louie Michael Casas adds experience as he joins from Global Cebu.
The two sentries will serve as options next to current first-choice keeper Nathanael Ace Villanueva who is set to return and join with the club’s preparations ahead of the new club season after serving his tour of duty with the Azkals in their recent maiden AFC Asian Cup campaign.
Zach Banzon, who is a product of Kaya FC’s academy, has been a promising keeper for Kaya since the UFL days. As a matter of fact, he featured as a starter in the club’s early fixtures during the inaugural Philippines Football League [PFL] season.
Banzon took a bit of a backseat as an understudy for then starter Ref Cuaresma, and then Ace Villanueva in 2018 – who joined from FC Meralco Manila, as he finished his degree in the University of the Philippines – Diliman.
Meanwhile 32-year-old Louie Casas has been a goalkeeping legend in his own right particularly for Ceres-Negros FC where he spent a big chunk of his professional career. His proven ability, despite his relatively small stature for a keeper, earned him callups for the Azkals, the latest of which is the Bangabandhu Cup in Bangladesh that was held last October 2018.
Kaya are set to begin their preparations with a couple of friendly matches set in the remainder of January 2019 first with Sabah FC on the 24th followed by a fixture against Ceres-Negros on the 29th.
The Iloilo-based club has a busy campaign ahead as aside from competing in the domestic league, they are also set to return to the AFC Cup after a two year absence after winning last season’s domestic cup known as the Copa Paulino Alcantara.