Kaya AFC Cup home games at Panaad Stadium

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Kaya FC-Iloilo
Local club team Kaya FC-Iloilo will play its home matches in the 2019 AFC Cup at the Panaad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod. -- KAYA FC WEB SITE

WITH its home turf unable to secure the nod to host an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) contest, Kaya FC-Iloilo will play its home matches at the Panaad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod, the team had announced.

In a release shared to members of media late last week, Kaya, the Copa Paulino Alcantara champion, said “despite exhausting all efforts to prepare the venue,” the Iloilo Sports Complex was ruled still short of the stadium standards required to host an AFC event by organizer, prompting the team to turn to somewhere else.

It was able to find a willing and welcoming host in Panaad Stadium, home of Ceres-Negros FC, which incidentally is the only available AFC-approved stadium in the Philippines.

Despite not being to play its home matches in Iloilo, Kaya is still appreciative of the efforts of the local government of Iloilo to help the team in every possible way.

“Kaya FC–Iloilo would like to express our gratitude to the Provincial Government of Iloilo for their unwavering support over the first year of our flourishing partnership, and for all the efforts in upgrading the Iloilo Sports Complex. We remain committed to developing football in the region, and we are hopeful that soon we will be able to give Iloilo a firsthand experience of the excitement of hosting AFC matches,” the Kaya release stated.

It went on to say that it has Iloilo in its mind and heart as it trains hard for the AFC Cup even as it encourage its fans to come to Bacolod and support the team.

“The team still intends to train in Iloilo in the lead-up to our AFC Cup games, and the club would like to invite all our supporters to make the short trip with us from Iloilo to Bacolod. Your voice and encouragement would be a massive help in our return to the Asian stage,” said Kaya.

In the AFC Cup, which kicks off later this month, Kaya is bracketed in Group H along with Home United FC of Singapore, Lao Toyota FC of Laos and PSM Makassar of India.

It opens its campaign on March 13 at Panaad against Home United.

Also representing Philippine club football in the tournament is Ceres, which is lumped in Group G. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo