FROM friends to foes, roles are set to be reversed as some Azkals return to mother clubs Kaya FC and Stallion when both teams face off in a rare Sunday playdate in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
After their national duty last week, OJ Porteria, Anton del Rosario, Chris Greatwich, Andrew Liauw, Nick O’Donnell, and Kenshiro Daniels of Kaya and the Stallions Ruben “Balot” Doctora Jr. and Simone Rota take their act back to the domestic league as both clubs collide at 8:30 p.m.
Kaya, running third in the nine-team standings, tries to keep in step with leaders Loyola and Global, while the fourth-running Stallions hope to keep alive whatever’s left of their title-retention bid.
Porteria, the dynamic teenage striker, will be up against a tough Stallion backline that is anchored by Rota, the Filipino-Italian defender who impressed in his Azkals debut.
“He’s got an abundance of talent and he’s starting to convert that talent into performances,” Kaya coach David Perkovic said of Porteria. “There are still a few weaknesses we have to work on him, but he’s got a fantastic attitude, and that’s why he’s come on leaps and bounds.
Doctora, for his part, will face a Kaya defense that has Azkals returnee Anton del Rosario and national team rookie Andrew Liauw.
The Stallions are also expected to field a significant addition from the transfer window in Senegalese holding midfielder Junior Gaye, whom coach Ernie Nierras raved about.
“Everybody has to learn from him. He’s a true holding midfielder,” Nierras said of Gaye, comparing him to compatriot and a Global FC offensive threat Izzo El-Habib. “Imagine Izzo as holding mid.”