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Impressive Laos targets more success in UFL Division I

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Laos FC won all but one of their 11 matches in the Second Division of the United Football League (UFL) to earn promotion to the first tier of the league. After concluding a near-perfect run, Laos captain Badz El-Habbib aspires for greater glory in the biggest stage of Philippine club football.

Getting to the first division is not a first step for El-Habbib and company. Now assured of a place in the top level, Laos is keen to display their brand of football to a greater audience. “Honestly I think that we belong because we have the quality in Laos to be in first division,” he told.

Worthy of a place in the division, Laos will not be satisfied with merely survival. “Our dream is not only to stay in first division. We want to compete, we want to win the championship and I think we can do that,” El-Habbib declared. Laos, as known to some people, is a sister team of Global FC. With such partnership, the team boasts quality players who also have a substantial amount of top-level experience, most of whom from Global. “Those guys brought Global to the first division. Now, they also brought Laos to the first division,” he shared.

Laos cruised comfortably in the second division this season, often brushing off teams that stood their way. Their strongest challengers were JP Voltes FC, who held them to a draw once and narrowly lost to them, 3-2. “We worked hard for that. That was our plan: to come out into first division with impressive performance,” El-Habbib highlighted. The first division journey will surely be far tougher than that, and the skipper recognizes such path. “Of course, first division is different level. It will not be easy but Laos never say die,” he proudly said.

El-Habbib, who also plays with brother Figo, is also thrilled with the prospect of battling Global next season. “It’s like two brothers in one family. They have this rivalry. At the end of the day, we are one family,” Badz said. Known to most people, another brother of Badz named Izo El-Habbib plies his trade for The People’s Club.

Izo’s team was eliminated from the UFL Cup, but the El-Habbibs will still be involved. Badz and Figo will be in action for Laos, who go into the knockout stages as one of the top teams. Not favored by many to win the tournament, El-Habbib thinks his team will show to everyone what they are all about. “We will do our best in the cup. Laos is not underdogs. Laos is a strong team and never say die,” he vowed. –LGT

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