AFC award for PFF’s ‘Kasibulan’ program
The Philippine Football Federation was cited for its grassroots program during the Asian Football Confederation Annual Awards rite graced by no less than International Football Federation (Fifa) president Joseph Blatter at Shangri-La Makati Sunday night.
The PFF, which has implemented an expanded “Kasibulan” program to promote the game among young children throughout the country, was one of three recipients of the AFC Presidential Recognition Award for Grassroots, along with India and Tajikistan.
“We are honored to receive the award, but this would not have been possible if not for the help of sponsors like Pagcor, which has been supportive of our grassroots programs,” said PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, who received the honor from AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
But the PFF missed one more award after AFC Challenge Cup champion Palestine claimed the National Team of the Year title.
The Azkals lost to Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup finals and team manager Dan Palami believes there was a great chance the country could have won the AFC citation if it prevailed in the tournament at the Maldives.
“That could have been us,” Palami said “We have to congratulate Palestine for winning that award. We just have to strive harder in the coming years.”
Nassir Al Shamrani of Saudi Arabia and Australia’s Katrina Lee Gorry bagged Player of the Year honors, with the Club Team of the Year award going to the Western Sydney Wanderers of Australia for ruling this year’s AFC Champions League.
Blatter and Shaikh Salman also led the groundbreaking ceremony of Fifa Goal Project III in a two-hectare facility inside the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.
PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes said the project is an artificial turf field that will serve as a nucleus of the national teams’ training center.