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Araneta leaving PFF in style

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta is thankful to see the progress the sport made under his term.

The 68-year-old sports leader said it was a collective effort from him and the sponsors of the federation to promote the sport and strengthen the national squads.

A new president will be elected when the PFF holds its elections on 25 November.

Araneta, a former national team player, said transparency and good leadership are also crucial to football’s rise in the Philippines.

“At the start, it was very difficult for us. When I started, there was no money and it was a mess. Fortunately, those who elected me as president were cooperative so I had nothing to say but thank you,” Araneta said in a radio interview.

“I’m thankful that their support is there in the trying times and we showed them as long as you do the right thing, something good comes out of it.”

Under his 12-year term, Philippine football saw a resurgence as the sport became known to the public.

The national men’s football team, known as The Azkals, went on to recruit foreign players with Filipino lineage and the establishment of the Philippines Football League and the Copa Paulino Alcantara.

The men’s team also made back-to-back semifinal appearances in the ASEAN Football Federation Championship in 2012 and 2014 while the women’s team, the Filipinas, won its first ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship in May 2022.

But the biggest highlights of Araneta’s term were the Azkals’ debut in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the Filipinas’ debut in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Filipinas won a match in their first World Cup with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand last July and the Azkals scored a goal in the Asian Cup courtesy of Stephan Schrock, who is in the coaching staff of current head coach Hans Michael Weiss.

With Araneta’s term in the International Football Federation council and AFF his vice presidency ending in 2027, Araneta said he would still help out the federation in any way he can.

“My term in FIFA will end in 2027 as well as my term as the AFF vice president. I will still be with football,” Araneta said.

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