Ceres Negros FC begins 2019 AFC League campaign

CERES Negros Football Club will face a tough challenge as they compete against stronger teams in Asia beginning next month en route to the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League,

The Busmen will be tested first by Yangon United of Myanmar at the start of the three-stage qualification phase on Feb. 5 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

Both teams they already faced each other during the ASEAN Zone Semifinal of the 2018 AFC Cup. The Bacolod City-based booters should win the first three stages to qualify for the AFC Champions League.

If they win their game against the Myanmar, Ceres Negros will next take on Chiangrai United on Feb. 12 on the second stage of the preliminaries. The winner will compete with Japan for the final playoff.

The champion of the final playoff match will be part of AFC Champions League’s Group F, joining China’s Guangzhou Evergrande, Korea Republic’s second ranked club, and Australia’s Melbourne Victory.

If they lose their game, Ceres will be relegated to the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation Cup, the region’s second-tier club tournament.

Ceres Negros qualified in AFC Cup after topping the 2018 Philippines Football League (PFL).

Kaya Iloilo FC also joined the league after snatching the inaugural PFL Copa Paulino Alcantara trophy.