United Football League champion Global has been given the green light to join the 9th Asian Football Confederation President’s Cup—the continental club competition for emerging football nations—marking another milestone for the sport in the country.
The AFC Competitions Committee and the Organizing Committee for the AFC President’s Cup and Challenge Cup confirmed Global’s entry in the 12-team tournament in a letter to the Philippine Football Federation dated Jan. 2.
Global ruled the UFL last season, edging Kaya on goal difference after losing just two of their 18 games. It will mark the first time that a Filipino club will be seeing action in the President’s Cup slated May 2 to 12 with the venue yet to be announced.
“I’m quite happy that somehow Philippine football club has made it to this stage,” said Global manager Dan Palami. “I think this has been the dream of Filipino clubs—to be able to play in tournaments like this and I’m glad that Global will be the first Filipino club to play at this level.”
The other teams seeing action in the President’s Cup are Bangladesh’s Dhaka Abahani, Bhutan’s Druk Pol, Cambodia’s Boeung Ket Rubber Field, Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power Company, Kyrgyzstan’s Dordoi Bishkek, Mongolia’s Erchim, Palestine’s Hilal Al-Quds and Turkmenistan’s Balkan. The entries of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have yet to be determined pending the completion of their respective competitions.
“The challenge now is to ensure that we are able to show that a Filipino club can be competitive at this level,” said Palami, whose squad is powered by members of the national side as well as a slew of foreigners.
Palami said their preparations will also depend on the number of foreigners that will be allowed to play in the tournament.
As part of its buildup, Global has tapped Scottish manager Brian Reid to handle the team starting this month.
The 42-year-old Reid is an experienced player with stints in the Scottish Premier League with Rangers, before managing Ayr United, which he helped secure to promotion to the first division during a five-year spell until last year.