MANILA – Kaya Iloilo is moving heaven and earth to bring to Iloilo City its home matches in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, which starts Feb. 5 next year.
They are working to have the AFC approve the Iloilo Sports Complex as venue for their home, said Paul Tolentino, general manager of the 2018 PFL Copa Paulino Alcantara champion team.
Kaya, mentored by Noel Marcaida, has been bracketed alongside tough teams in Southeast Asia – Home United of Singapore, Lao Toyota FC of Laos and an Indonesian squad.
“It’s an exciting group to be with. It’s definitely going to be a challenge but a challenge that the club and the players are excited for,” Tolentino said in an interview posted on Kaya’s website.
“The club is striving to bring matches home to Iloilo. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done to get approval from the AFC to be able to play in front of the Iloilo home crowd, but we’re doing our best,” he added.
Kaya is one of the Philippine-based teams in the competition along with fellow Western Visayas team Ceres Negros, which was bracketed with Shan United, Becamex Bình Duong of Vietnam and an Indonesian team.
But the Negros squad still has a chance to break into the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage when it participates in the preliminary stages in February.
Should the club successfully qualify to the group stage of Asia’s elite tournament, Davao Aguilas will take over its spot in the 2019 AFC Cup./PN