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Araneta wants PFF to be in good hands

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC Outgoing PFF president Nonong Araneta wants the next leadership of the sports association to further advance the development of football in the country.

Outgoing Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta hopes his successor will continue to push the sport forward after the national teams’ milestones under his watch.

Araneta, who oversaw the renaissance of football since he took office in an interim capacity in 2010, is already at the end of his term.

He trusts that football stakeholders — the heads of regional football associations — will vote wisely and take into consideration the continuation of the sports’ existing programs as well as further developments in the next leaders that they will elect.

“They should love football and be passionate about football. They should be transparent and I hope there will be no corruption,” said Araneta during the Azkals’ 1-1 draw against Indonesia in the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last Tuesday.

The official will continue as a council member of the International Football Federation and as the vice president of the ASEAN Football Federation until 2027.

“I’m still with FIFA, AFC (Asian Football Confederation) and AFF as vice president until 2027 so I’m still helping football and Philippine football,” Araneta said.

In his 13 years at the helm, the Philippines made it to the semifinal of the AFF Championship in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018 with Filipino-heritage stars such as Phil and James Younghusband, Angel and Juani Guirado, Rob Gier and Stephan Schrock, who is currently still playing for the national team.

But the biggest highlights of Araneta’s term are the Azkals’ debut in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the Filipinas’ stint in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Filipinas made history with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand last July in the World Cup.

Araneta’s great track record also landed him the spot as chief of mission for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, which was highlighted by lifter Hidilyn Diaz winning the country’s first gold medal.

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