“You can prepare for a long time, but it’s still going to be different on game day”, Stephan Schrock opined, and for Ceres-Negros FC, gameday is all that matters. That was the sentiment across the board as Schrock, along with coach Risto Vidakovic, top gun Bienvenido Marañon and new additions including Hikaru Minegishi and Mark Hartmann spoke to the press earlier today at the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association forum in Manila.
A week out from their first qualifier against Myanmar champions Shan United, coach Risto emphasized that it would be all about motivating the three-time PFL Champions and reigning Copa Alcantara holders in the single-elimination qualifier. Specifically, he noted that even though Ceres have beaten the Shan Warriors multiple times in the past 3 years, their opponents have strengthened to a point that those past results are off the table. Meanwhile, members of the squad including Schrock, Marañon and the returning men like Hartmann and Josh Grommen noted that while there is some flux with a raft of new additions, the returnees feel almost like they never left, which is a big help as they return to training.
Coach Risto also noted that while the window for preparing the squad is very tight, he trusts his players and knows they will give their all on the pitch. Additionally, Stephan Schrock also noted that while it would be different playing in the Rizal Memorial Stadium, he hopes the fans would show the same support they’ve shown while the Busmen campaigned in Panaad Park, and extends an invitation to all fans to come out and watch the qualifier on Tuesday night.
As mentioned, Ceres-Negros and Shan United lock horns on Tuesday, the 14th of January at 7:30 PM at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Ticket details will be announced on Ceres’ social media accounts as information become available.
Beforehand, Shan United open their defence of the Myanmar National League on Friday the 10th visiting newly-promoted side I.S.P.E FC in Mandalay.