THE AFC Cup 2020 campaigns of local clubs Ceres-Negros FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo were put on hold on Wednesday after organizers decided to suspend all matches over concerns on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In an announcement shared to members of media, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said it had decided to postpone all AFC Cup 2020 matches until further notice.
The AFC initially postponed AFC Cup West Zone Group Stage matches beginning March 12 but went on to apply the decision to all matches scheduled for March and April as the number of cases of COVID-19 in different parts of the world continues to increase.
The governing body said the decision was arrived at in consultation with the different member associations, and made as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety and well-being of all participating players and teams, match officials and spectators.
It was also designed to protect the integrity of the competition.
Ceres and Kaya are currently in the mix for top position in their respective groupings.
Three-time Philippines Football League champion Ceres is currently in number one position in Group G with seven points, built on a record of two wins and a draw.
The “Busmen” are three points clear of second-running Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam (1-1-1).
On third spot is Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC (1-0-2) of Cambodia with three points and Bali United FC (1-0-2) at fourth with three points as well.
Ceres last played on March 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium where it dominated Bali United, 4-0.
Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon scored a brace (54’ and 69’) in the win with OJ Porteria (35’) and Robert Lopez Mendy (73’) accounting for the two other goals.
Postponed matches of Ceres were away games against Bali United on April 14 and Svay Rieng on April 29.
Kaya (1-2-0), meanwhile, is at second place in Group H with five points, two down of group pacesetter Tampines Rovers FC (2-1-0) of Singapore.
PSM Makassar (1-1-1) of Indonesia is third with four points while winless Shan United FC of Myanmar is at fourth.
Kaya was held to draws in its last two matches, the last one against PSM, 1-1, on March 10.
It vowed to do better in its next matches against PSM on April 15 and Shan United on April 28 here at home, games which unfortunately were covered by the AFC Cup postponement.
Leader on the board after group play in the AFC Cup books a spot in the zonal semifinals. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo