Global FC aims for the big leagues of Asia

There were a few other foreigners at training like Trinidadian Darryl Roberts. Global can only get four foreigners for their AFC CL roster, and Sasaki and Perkatis, who hail from AFC countries, are likely to be favorites to make the cut. 

Global's other Filipino stalwarts like Bahadoran, Amani Aguinaldo, Dennis Villanueva, Matt Hartmann, Patrick Deyto, Hikaru Minegishi, Paolo Bugas, Paolo Salenga, Marco Casambre, and Jerry Barbaso are good to go and looked fit in training. Global have also roped in two players from Green Archers United Globe, Ronnie Aguisanda and Dodong Villareal. Paul Mulders, who briefly played for Global before suiting up for Ceres, is back in yellow-and blue for 2017.

Coaching issues 

The main concern now with Global is in the coaching staff. Since the manager's chair in Global has been a revolving door recently, assistant Marjo Allado ran Thursday's training. 

Global began last season with Scot Leigh Manson in charge. Then near the end of the season Englishman John Burridge replaced Manson. But due to an apparent lack of a necessary coaching badge, Burridge departed and in came Kenichi Yatsuhashi. But the Yatsuhashi era lasted all of ten days, and the Japanese-American is out and in his place is another veteran Japanese mentor, Toshiaki Imai, the former coach of the Mongolian and Chinese Taipei national teams. Imai was not at training on Thursday but will handle all the sessions leading up to Tuesday's game. 

Imai, not to be confused with Masataka Imai, who coached the Philippines in 2001, is 62 years old and has a Japan Football Association “S” coaching license, which is reportedly equivalent to the AFC Pro badge that is a prerequisite for being a head coach at the AFC Champions league. (An AFC “A” license, what Allado possesses, is the minimum to coach in the AFC Cup.)

 A difficult opponent. 

The new coach will match wits with a Tampines Rovers team that played Global in the quarters of the Singapore Cup last year. In the first leg of that series the Stags won 3-1. In the second leg Minegishi scored in the 21st to pull a goal back on aggregate but Global suffered a blow when Omid Nazari was sent off. Rovers then found the back of the net twice to seal a 5-1 aggregate win. 

The Stags finished second in the Singapore league to Albirex Niigata's farm team. Since Albirex is a Japanese developmental squad, they are not eligible to play in the AFCCL through Singapore. 

Tampines no longer feature ex- Premiership star Jermaine Pennant, since he has signed with English third-tier club Bury FC. Tampines do have veteran Singapore internationalists Darren Bennett and Mustafic Fahruddin, as well as the undersized but highly-rated keeper Izwan Mahbud. Ex-Ceres defender Son Yong Chan of Korea will likely suit up for the Singaporeans. Son presumably impressed Tampines last year when the busmen played them in the group, drawing them in Singapore and beating them in Bacolod. 

There will be no TV broadcast for the game, so fans have to troop to Rizal Memorial to watch. Although Global will represent Cebu in the upcoming Philippines Football League, they will play home games in RMS while they sort out their stadium situation in the Queen City. 

Global may be an underdog in this long and arduous trek to the big league. But this team, both Cup and League champs last year, is used to winning, and Rizal Memorial just might be an inhospitable place for the visitors on Tuesday. –

Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH.