We take a look at Ceres-Negros’ next opponent and one of Thailand’s premier clubs, Port FC of Bangkok.
WHO ARE THEY
Port Football Club was founded 53 years ago as the Port Authority of Thailand Football Club by Major Prachuap Suntranakul, then General Manager of Port Authority of Thailand. Since 2015, Port FC has been headed by Nualphan Lamsam, a majority shareholder of Muang Thai Life Insurance and the assistant secretary-general of the Democratic Party in Bangkok.
Some of Port FC’s accomplishments are a runners-up finish of the T1 and T2 once each, Thai FA Cup Winners twice, and a win and runners-up of the Thai League Cup.
Port FC has been known to be one of the strongest clubs in Thailand in recent memory. A mixture of quality foreigners and talented locals will give any opposition in the region a run for their money. One thing is sure, Ceres-Negros will have to be at the top of their game to beat this side. Port FC’s lineup is loaded with quality from the back to the front and this article will be too long if we mention all of them so here’s a select few player’s to watch.
The Savvy Spaniards
Leading the charge for Port FC are a pair of La Liga Veterans in Sergio Suarez and David Rochela. With over 100 appearances for Port FC between them, the Spanish duo will be tasked to lead the defence and attack for the Bangkok side. Rochela has anchored Port’s defence for 70+ games and Suarez will be one to watch as the Spanish Ace has scored 30+ goals for the Bangkok side since joining in 2017.
The AFC Connection
Port will retain the services of two Asian Quota players in Go Seul-Ki and a name that will be familiar to Philippine Football fans in former Ceres-Negros captain Martin Steuble. Go Seul-Ki returns to Port on a permanent basis after coming on loan from Buriram last campaign. Go Seul-Ki has been a steady presence since arriving, with 26 appearances and chipping in with three goals last year en-route to their highest points total in history and winning the Thai FA Cup. Former Ceres Captain Martin Steuble has slotted in the matchday lineup right away since arriving and has been a capable understudy to current Port starting left-back Kevin Deeromram. With Steuble not registered for this fixture, it will be a bittersweet moment for him as he sees his current team face his former side of 3 years in the upcoming AFC Champions League campaign when Port Faces Ceres-Negros in Bangkok this coming Jan 21.
The Brazilian Hitman
One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. In a move that sent shock waves throughout Thailand. In a move dubbed as a way to cut cost, Muangthong United’s 2019 campaign top scorer Heberty Fernandes joins rivals Port for the 2020 season. The Twin Qilins decided to send top scorer Heberty and his 2 million baht per month salary to rivals Port and the Bangkok side pounced on the chance to get the services of a proven goalscorer for their maiden AFC Champions League campaign after the ineffective pair of Rolando Blackburn and Josimar. With 62 goals in 97 appearances for Muanthong United, the expectations are high for the freescoring Brazilian.
Port FC’s imports are supported by a bevy of talented locals, most of whom are Thailand internationals. Manning the flanks for Port are dynamic Thai national team attackers Pakorn Prempak and Bordin Phala. Pakorn has scored 14 goals in 80 appearances while Bordin has chipped in with 9 in over 50 appearances. Tanaboon Kesarat has been a fixture in the middle for the Bangkok side since arriving last year from BG Pathum United, playing mostly alongside South Korean Go Seul-Ki. Another Coup is the signing of Thai National Team Striker Adisak Kraisorn on loan from rivals Muangthong. Adisak will be expected to provide competition with fellow newcomer and former Muangthong club mate Heberty for playing time up front.
Choketawee Promrut returned to Thai club football in style last 2019, leading Port FC to a third-place finish and qualifying to the current format of the AFC Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. The former Thai National team Assistant coach led the Bangkok side to 15 wins and 53 pts, ahead of perennial contenders Bangkok Utd and Muangthong Utd. It’s going to be an interesting battle of wits between the Thai veteran coach and Ceres’ Risto Vidakovic .