Men­di­ola eyes AFC Cup berth

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - SPORTS - IAN SUYU

Men­di­ola FC will be fo­cused on chas­ing a slot in the AFC Cup when it com­petes in the up­com­ing sea­son of the Philip­pine Foot­ball League (PFL) next month.

Head coach Nhi­boy Ped­i­monte said they are look­ing to come up with a strong per­for­mance in a bid to qual­ify in the AFC Cup next year.

Ped­i­monte said their train­ing in­side a bub­ble setup at the Philip­pine Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion train­ing fa­cil­ity in Car­mona, Cavite is in full blast and his wards are in high morale, hop­ing to earn a ticket on the pres­ti­gious con­ti­nen­tal tour­na­ment.

Only the top two teams in the PFL would qual­ify in the AFC Cup.

Last year, pow­er­house squads Ceres Ne­gros FC and Kaya Iloilo FC bagged the hon­ors.

The Bus­men, how­ever, changed their own­er­ship group, prompt­ing new team United City FC to take over its AFC Cup slot with prac­ti­cally in in­tact ros­ter ban­nered by Philip­pine Azkals skip­per Stephan Schrock.

“We al­ways talk within the team and the main tar­get this sea­son is to get that AFC Cup slot,” Ped­i­monte, who is also the head coach of San Beda Univer­sity in the Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, said.

“The lim­ited train­ing sit­u­a­tion is very hard now, but the play­ers are co­op­er­at­ing very well with us.”

Ped­i­monte said they are bank­ing on their im­pres­sive run in the 2019 Copa Paulino Al­can­tara, where they put a gal­lant stand be­fore bow­ing to United City FC in the semi­fi­nals.

We al­ways talk within the team and the main tar­get this sea­son is to get that AFC Cup slot.

Tipped to carry the cud­gels are skip­per Ash­ley Flores and Nim­rod Bal­a­bat to­gether with re­in­force­ments like Ira­nian striker Hamed Ha­jime­hdi and Ivo­rian stop­per Dini Out­tara.

“We have al­ready shown it in the last Copa Al­can­tara, but we fell short there. We are hop­ing that this sea­son, we can have our best shot as a chal­lenger for an AFC Cup slot,” Ped­i­monte said.

“I know it’s a huge task for the team. But in re­al­ity, I know that we can shoot for that slot.”

PHO­TO­GRAPH BY HAMED HA­JIME­HDI/FB

HAMED Ha­jime­hdi and Men­di­ola FC chase a slot in the AFC Cup next year.

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