Brisbane Roar’s AFC Champions League opponents, the Philippines’ Global FC, who were only founded as a factory team for railway company Autre Porte Technique Global in 2000, are an eclectic bunch, with players born or raised in Iran, England, Holland, Italy, Japan, Canada, and America.
But they’re all Filipinos at heart.
“That’s the beauty of football,” Global FC captain Misagh Bahadoran, who was born in the Philippines to an Iranian father and Filipino mother, told The World Game.
“Most of us have Filipino blood; we have Filipino culture in our blood which helps us gel with each other.
“Even though we all have different cultures and different attitudes, when we play football we all have one goal – to play good and win.”
And the goal against Brisbane is to win, however unlikely that may seem on paper. Bahadoran, who was raised in Iran before returning to the Philippines in 2004, doesn’t buy into the theory the underdogs have nothing to lose against their more fancied opponents.
“In football there is always pressure and there is always something to lose,” the 30-year-old said. “We will play our best and fight until the end, and then we will see the result.”
After their history making win over Singapore’s Tampines Rovers in Manila last Tuesday, Bahadoran wasted little time in seeking out his national team teammate Iain Ramsay for inside information on the three-time A-League champions, meeting up with the former Adelaide United and Melbourne City player the following day.
“I just spoke with him,” said Bahadoran, who is now a qualified dentist with his own practice. “He told me they are a very good team and they will attack a lot, so it’s going to be a difficult game for us.”
Bahadoran and his teammates, which now includes former Western Sydney Wanderers youngster Yianni Perkatis, will arrive in Brisbane on Saturday, still high on emotion after the win over Tampines Rovers. Not only were they the first Filipino side to play in the AFC Champions League, the win also makes them the first Filipino side to win an AFC Champions League match.
“It meant so much to us because we made history and people remember history,” Bahadoran said. “We showed that Filipino football is getting stronger.”
The winger maintains, however, that the team hasn’t dwelled on the win and is firmly focused on Tuesday night’s match at Suncorp Stadium.
“We are professional players and we know every win has its moment,” he said.
“We did enjoy the moment, but now we have another big game to win and do our best. We are excited to go there and give them a good game.”
Should the unlikely happen and they get the win against Brisbane, Global FC will be on the global stage, for their next match will be against Carlos Tevez’s Shanghai Shenhua.