REIGNING Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros braces for a stiff challenge from Myanmar’s Shan United at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 14, for the preliminary stage of the AFC Champions League at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Risto Vidakovic-mentored Busmen will test newcomers Mark Hartmann and Pika Minegishi alongside returnees Arnie Pasinabo and Josh Grommen.
Meanwhile, expected to lead the Busmen in this quest are AFC Cup top scorer Bienvenido Maranon, and Southeast Asian Best XI awardee Stephan Schrock, who is coming off his finest season yet.
Providing experience in defense are Spanish defender Super Herrera and goalkeeper Roland Muller.
Other Busmen mainstays who are expected to deliver for the Busmen are James Younghusband, Robert Mendy, Takashi Odawara, Mike Ott, OJ Porteria, Jeff Christiaens, Junior Munoz, Dennis Villanueva, Sean Kane, Angelo Marasigan, Dylan De Bruycker, Tristan Robles, Ron Bayan and Jun Badelic.
“It’s important for us to start the season strong. A great result to start the year can set the tone for us and lay the foundation for a really successful campaign,” said club administrator Nicolas Golez.
“We have experienced playing against Shan United. It’s a dangerous team so we really have to prepare for them,” Golez added.
The Busmen aren’t taking the Myanmar League champions lightly as they look to progress further in the continent’s most prestigious club competition following an early exit last year.