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Kaya continues UFL Cup rampage despite Lewis’ departure



Kaya FC marched on to the semifinals of the United Football League (UFL) Cup following a flattering 8-0 win over newly-promoted JP Voltes FC last August 21. It was nearly a familiar scene for Kaya but something was notably different. Fabien Lewis, the Kaya coach since April, was not around and will no longer accompany the team towards the end of the Cup.

“We always knew Fabien was going to leave,” Kaya manager Paul Tolentino disclosed. Unforeseen extensions to the season led to Lewis’ abrupt departure with the Cup still not yet finished. Tolentino shared that Lewis was still supposed to lead the team in the quarterfinals, but they decided that it’s best for all parties if they part ways earlier than scheduled. With Lewis at the helm, Kaya finished in fourth place at the UFL Division I season.

Kaya approach the semis wary of Stallion, a team that has not lost a game to Kaya in recent times. “We haven’t beaten since 2012. If they win their quarterfinal game, it means we’ll play them. It’s far from easy for us,” he said despite Kaya’s nearly impeccable Cup record. In six matches so far, the tournament’s top seeded team only allowed one goal against the 44 they have scored, winning their matches by nearly seven goals per game. Amongst them, however, only Pachanga hails from Division I. A stern challenge surely brews with Stallion standing on their way.

The dominant Cup run surely matters less for Kaya who now face a stern challenge for a playoff spot in next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. “Everyone else is on the same mind set,” Tolentino suggested. Four teams remain in the tournament as of writing, including UFL Champions Ceres-La Salle whose triumph in the Cup will yield to Global’s passage via the AFC Cup playoffs. Kaya, like the other four teams, do not wish for such to happen. The road will be rough for sure, but perhaps the best part about it is that Kaya’s destiny is in their hands. –LGT