Five veteran players leave Kaya FC-Iloilo

KAYA FC Iloilo will be playing for the 2019 AFC Cup and 2019 Philippine Premier League without its five veteran booters.

Star player Robert Lopez Mendy and midfielder Kenshiro Daniels recently exited the Iloilo-based squad as announced by Kaya FC in its website.

To recall, midfielder Miguel Tanton also transferred to Ceres-Negros FC, while goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma was elevated to the coaching staff. Midfielder Antonio Ugarte reportedly sought new opportunities in Panama.

Both Lopez Mendy and Tanton caught the attention of the crowd after they fueled Kaya FC to the inaugural championship title of the Copa Paulino Alcantara.

Meanwhile, after 18 years of seeing action inside the field, the team’s goalkeeper Reffix “Ref” Cuaresma retired from the sport.

The Dumaguete City native left the club after they captured the championship in the 2018 Copa Paulino Alcantara.

Cuaresma started his football career in 2001 with the Philippine Navy from in the United Football League.

After eight years of stay in Navy, Cuaresma had a two-year break before playing for the Loyola Meralco Sparks FC from 2010-2014. He also had a short stop at Manila Jeepney FC in 2014 before suiting up for Stallion Laguna until 2016. He then transferred to Kaya FC (then still in Makati) when he chose to retire after winning a PFL title.

The retirement of the 36-year-old Cuaresma left Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida with just two goal keepers in his roster – Nathanael Ace Villanueva and Zach Banzon.