Bali's Brwa Nouri prefers packed Rizal Memorial ahead of closed-door AFC Cup battle vs. Ceres Negros

Brwa Nouri, second from left, would have loved to play with fans watching him on Wednesday night. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--With the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the Philippines increasing rapidly in the past few days, some events supposed to be held in front of live audiences are now taking place behind closed doors including the upcoming AFC Cup match between Ceres Negros and Bali United at the Rizal Memorial Stadium here.

But for Bali's Brwa Nouri, even though Ceres Negros' home field edge just got neutralized significantly, he would rather see the fans packing the stadium.

"I think every footballer and every team would like to have spectators on the game.... If I could choose, I'd rather have supporters in the game," the Iraqi midfielder said during the pre-match press conference at the Century Park Hotel on Tuesday, hours after the announcement was made.

In fact, he bared that his mindset was already on playing in front of people that will come from as far as Bacolod to cheer for Ceres Negros, which is temporarily calling the RMS for the meantime.

"I was hoping that it's gonna be a full stadium or a good crowd," Nouri further said.

He further commented, "I don't think it's beneficial for any of us to not have any fans because it's an entertaining sport, so that's a shame."

In a statement, Ceres Negros arrived at the decision to turn its match into a closed-door event "after careful consultation with the Philippine Football Federation and the Philippine Sports Commission and to conform with the measures being adopted by the national and local governments to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus."

The match scheduled for Wednesday night would be Ceres Negros' final home match in the group stages before the club plays the second round of the eliminations on the road.

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