By Kevin Estrada
Stallion Laguna head coach Ernest Nierras felt more than vindicated for reaching another milestone for the club, just before they play Indonesia’s Bali United to open their campaign in the AFC Cup on Wednesday, September 20.
“It’s better to be late than sorry,” said the elder Nierras, who was joined by his son Matthew who is the co-captain of the Binan, Laguna based squad on Tuesday’s pre-game conference. “It’s nice to be part of the AFC Cup, and we’re fortunate to be part of this competition.”
The club waited for ten years to reward their domestic performances with a stint in the continental competition, after they were cruelly denied a deserved place in the now-defunct AFC President’s Cup when they won the cup and league double in the old United Football League in the 2012-13 season.
However, the opening whistle at the Biñan Football Stadium will make their effort and hard work recognized, after placing third in last season’s PFL.
“For the club, it’s historic, for the city, it’s historic,” he added, noting that the partnership that the club had with the local government of Biñan was vital in getting the stadium approved by the AFC to host the matches.
“Everything went really well,” Coach Ernest later said about how the inspection went, which meant that Stallion will have a unique home field advantage for their Group G tiffs.
“We have a small stadium and a team, but we’ve been able to show that there is passion and life in football in this small city,” he later added, stating Biñan’s prior international experience which included the Southeast Asian Games and the AFF Women’s Championships.
The younger Nierras stressed the importance of his leadership, as he was confident that their squad is ready to play against anyone. “The lineup now is built to compete,” said the defender.
“We are not here to participate, only. We also have a point to prove as players, our team, and especially as representatives of Philippine football that we can play.”
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