MANILA, Philippines—Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Saturday got a fresh mandate to lead Philippine football for the next four years during the annual PFF Congress in Mandaluyong.
Representatives of 32 football associations from all over the country voted for the former national team captain in a united front witnessed by several officials of the International Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation.
Araneta, who served the remainder of ousted president Mari Martinez’s term starting late last year, Saturday vowed to prioritize the implementation of grassroots programs, give more exposure to the national team and organize more tournaments, especially at the youth level.
“We will prioritize grassroots, the national teams and of course to the women’s team because they have shown tremendous effort and improvement,” Araneta said.
“The popularity of the sport has grown tremendously over the past year. I think in general, people involved in Philippine football have done a good job,” he said.
Araneta said the PFF will be partnering with the AFC, the Japan Football Association and the German Football Federation in the implementation of the grassroots program that will be launched early next year.
AFC acting president Zhang Jilong attended the Congress and Araneta said he was assured of the smooth release of funds intended for the PFF and its development programs.
“He (Zhang) promised to facilitate the release for developing countries like the Philippines so that nobody will be controlling funds,” he said, noting that the AFC president immediately ordered the release of the remaining $130,000 for the PFF intended for the Aid 27 Program for coaches.
Araneta said transparency remains an important thrust of his federation, which receives $250,000 from Fifa every year and $200,000 from AFC.
AFC vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has also promised to help the PFF’s grassroots program with equipment and logistical needs and Araneta said this will allow the federation to realign some funds for other projects.
Araneta is still hoping that the DFB will finalize the grant for the country that will pave the way for a German technical expert to work on grassroots development in the country.
Another project of Araneta is the staging of regional Under-17 and Under-15 tournaments.
Elected to the PFF Board were Charlie Cojuangco, Dick Emperado, Richard Montayre and Dan Palami for Visayas, Ronald Tulay, Diobe Arellano, Leopoldo Arnaiz and Mario Garovillo for Luzon and Ramon Manlunas, Cabili Sinsuat, Flaviano Fucoy and Abenir Labja for Mindanao.