Kaya beefs up roster with addition of foreign players

Published April 11, 2021, 3:22 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from Kaya-Iloilo FC’s Twitter account

Kaya-Iloilo recently signed two foreign players for its upcoming campaigns in the AFC Champions League preliminary stage and the Philippines Football League.

The club added Japanese-Korean midfielder Ryo Fujii and Ghanian striker Patrick Asare in hopes of strengthening its attack for both competitions scheduled to start by the end of summer.

Fujii, 24, had stints with the youth teams of Major League Soccer sides Chivas USA and LA Galaxy, played one year at University of California Sta. Barbara before suiting up for the LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship.

He played for Swedish side Nykopings BIS in 2018 and was supposed to suit up for Global in the last year’s PFL but the club had its license revoked due to repeated failures to pay its players.

Asare, 26, had a lengthy stint in Myanmar for Zwengabin United, Yadanarbon and Shan United before taking a brief respite in 2020 to finish a masters degree in psychology for coaching in Malaysia.

Fujii and Asare are the latest additions to a Kaya squad that aims to bounce back from a runner-up finish in last year’s PFL while also seeking to make the group of the Champions League.

Kaya takes on Australian side Brisbane Roar in the ACL preliminaries in June, with the winner advancing to a playoff round match against China’s Shanghai Port for a spot in the group stage.

Even if it fails in its ACL bid, Kaya is assured of a spot in Group I of the AFC Cup alongside Malaysia’s Terengganu, Myanmar’s Shan United and Singapore’s Geylang International.

Kaya also signed former Stallion-Laguna players Fitch Arboleda and Jhan-Jhan Melliza several weeks ago.