SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS, Dominican Republic - A massive challenge awaits Cibao FC in its Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) debut later this month against round of 16 opponent Guadalajara.
Yet, for the 2016 Caribbean Club Championship champion, the potential for success could all come down to the various facets of faith.
"We have to believe in ourselves," said Cibao FC head Albert Benaiges, who - coincidentally - had a brief spell at Guadalajara earlier this decade, working with its youth set-up. "I hope that we have the confidence to believe in ourselves to be able to win."
Benaiges, a Mexico-born Spaniard, worked for two decades in FC Barcelona's famed youth program. He has exhaustively studied Chivas and believes that his team has a chance to advance, but only if it is prepared to compete in every way.
"We have to put together a match that is at their (Guadalajara's) level," he remarked. "It has to be a team performance of unity, effort and solidarity. I am watching all of [Chivas'] matches. All of them. League games, cup games. What gets my attention the most is their attack."
Cibao FC will become the first team from the Dominican Republic to play in the SCCL, when it hosts Guadalajara on February 22 at the Estadio Cibao FC. The call is being made for all Cibao FC and Dominican Republic football fans to show all their support at the historic encounter.
"This is a commitment for the entire country," finished Benaiges. "We need that air because what we want is to get a good result here to then be able to go to Guadalajara with the hope of giving them a scare."