Gentle Giants open Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign with home game vs UP Fighting Maroons
CEBU CITY, Philippines — After a two-month break, the Cebu Football Club (CFC) Gentle Giants will plunge back into action as they start their Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign with a home game against the streaking University of the Philippines (UP) Men’s Football Team at the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex in Cebu City.
The Gentle Giants will debut in the tournament after placing second overall in the Philippines Football League (PFL), a few months back.
CFC’s American head coach Joshua Schirmer and assistant coach Mustafa Al-Saffar will also be making their debut on Sunday.
According to Schirmer, they are prepared to face the unbeaten Fighting Maroons in tomorrow’s match at 3 p.m.
“We had five weeks total preparation. I think we did what we can to prepare ourselves. So, all we can do is to put on the best performance as possible,” said Schirmer during the pre-match presser on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at their home pitch.
Also debuting with CFC are its two new players, Japanese Ken Murayama and Turkish Goktug Demiroglu.
They will also field in the returning Turkish forward Arda Cinkir, Nigerian Chima Ozuka, Japanese Ren Okuda and Jaime Rosquillo of Iloilo.
For his part, CFC team captain Baris Tasci reassured Cebuano football fans that their team already made the necessary adjustments with their new coaches and teammates.
“We have new players and new coaching staff and it’s going to be our first game. We have a bit of adjustments, but the team spirit and the team goal remains the same,” said Tasci.
“It’s really good that we have a new head coach that can speak English, so there’s no language barrier anymore. Coach can also speak Japanese. It’s a big advantage to the team compared to other clubs. I think this is going to be a good time for Cebu FC, hopefully we can show it to the fans. It’s also a big advantage for us to open our tournament at our home pitch.”
Schirmer and Al-Saffar replaced Turkish coach Mehmet Khakil and the latter’s assistant Levent Öztürk.
Meanwhile, UP’s head coach Popoy Clarino said during the presser that his team was also excited to play against CFC which they describe as one of the strongest teams in the PFL.
UP currently leads Group B’s standings with two wins and zero loss. They are yet to face their toughest opponent in CFC which they will try to upset at the latter’s home pitch.
“We’re excited to play tomorrow. Cebu FC, it’s a very very strong team, but the players are also excited to give their best,” said Clarino.
For UP’s team captain Marc Tobias, he and his teammates are equally excited. But they also feel startled to face a top-caliber opponent in CFC.
“Siguro excited, tapos, may konting kaba kasi mostly professional players yung kalaban namin,” said Tobias who was also present during the presser.
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