Big shoes to fill as Gutierrez succeeds Araneta
The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) on Saturday elected John Gutierrez to succeed Nonong Araneta as the head of the country’s national football federation.
Gutierrez, who represents the Bukidnon Football Association and once owned Pachanga Diliman in the defunct United Football League, got the nod over Stallion-Laguna co-owner Filbert Alquiros and Henry Sabate of Davao during the PFF’s extraordinary congress in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Proceedings were witnessed by Fifa council member Kohzo Tashima and Fifa regional director for Asia and Oceania Sanjeevan Balasingam.
Araneta relinquished the role he held since 2010 when he served the remaining year of the late Mari Martinez’s term. The former football player was reelected in 2011, 2015 and 2019.
He can no longer run for reelection under PFF by-laws, but will remain a Fifa council member and vice president of the Asean Football Federation.
Lawrence Lemuel Fortun was voted first vice president and Jay Adriatico second vice president while Filipinas team administrator Belay Fernando-Dela Cruz was elected to the new PFF board.
Others elected were Rufino Arellano, Virgilio Imperial, Lovely Gladys Mae Tababa and Alvin Yalung for Luzon, Elmer Gallardo, Rodney Orale, Renee Songalia and Roceller Sumbillo for Visayas and Irvin Banga, Gemayel Gampong, Stephen Gorgonio, Damsel Merced for Mindanao.
Gutierrez will have big shoes to fill after the Philippines experienced landmark moments during Araneta’s tenure.
That includes the Filipinas’ qualification to the Fifa Women’s World Cup and subsequent historic match victory there and the Azkals’ stunning upset of Vietnam in the 2010 AFF Cup.