KAYA FC warms up for its Asian Football Confederation Cup debut as it headlines the cast in the United Football League Cup that kicks off on February 6 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The defending UFL Cup titlist, preparing for the AFC Cup in late February, was grouped in the season-opening tournament with Division 2 champion Laos, Stallion FC, Forza, Agila, and JP Voltes after the draw on Wednesday night.
“At the end of the tournament there's an AFC Cup at stake,” Kaya manager Paul Tolentino said. “It will be harder this time because it’s the first tournament of the season and everyone wants to win it.”
League champion and Cup runner-up Ceres-La Salle, also in the thick of buildup for the AFC Cup, leads Group B in arguably the tougher bracket that also has former league and Cup champion Global FC, Cup semifinalist Loyola Meralco, and Green Archers United, as well as Nomads and Pasargad.
Ceres is set to parade not just one, but two prized acquisitions in Azkals Stephan Schrock and Kevin Ingreso.
UFL technical director Ritchie Gannaban said sister clubs with “perceived bias” to each other were prohibited from getting grouped together, separating Global and Laos, Loyola and Agila, and Green Archers and Forza.
“Group A looks easier which means our knockout round is going to be harder,” Tolentino said. “We know its going to be dangerous heading into the knockout round.”