Tag Archives: Philippine Football Federation

Philippines Football League Kicks Off on May 6

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The Philippines Football League was unveiled last night in a lavish opening launch held at the Shangri-La at the Fort, Taguig City, cementing a landmark moment for Philippine football.

Eight teams heeded the call to participate in the inaugural season of the PFL: Ceres Negros FC, Davao Aguilas FC, Global Cebu FC, JPV Marikina FC, Ilocos United FC, Kaya FC Makati, FC Meralco Manila, and Stallion Laguna FC. The League will have two rounds of home-and-away matches, with four matches every weekend starting May 6.

The PFL was realized with the creation of the league task force and was assisted by both the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the International Football Federation (FIFA).

Aware of the effects that the PFL can provide to football fans, Philippine Football Federation President Mariano V. Araneta is excited for the start of the league.

“We are bringing the passion and the love for the beautiful game to different parts of the country with the PFL,” said Araneta. “This is a dream come true for all of us involved in this project. We appreciate the time, effort, and resources put in by the clubs to make the PFL possible. We’ve taken the next step for Philippine football.”

Araneta also expects that the clubs and the League can finally deliver the fanbase the sport needs to spread all over the country.

“It’s now up to the clubs to really create the fanbase for their team,” added Araneta. “This is the challenge for the clubs and the league as well. We’ll be helping each other so we have to make this League viable and successful and stable.”

The PFL will be shown on Peoples Television (PTV) for the airing of two live matches every weekend. The live matches will be aired on Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

The first set of matches will be held on May 6. Kaya FC Makati face off with Ceres Negros at 4:00 PM at the University of Makati Stadium followed by the match between Stallion Laguna and Meralco Manila at 7:00 PM at the Binan Football Stadium in Binan, Laguna. Ilocos United and Davao Aguilas make their debuts against each other on May 7 at 4:00 PM at the Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. JPV Marikina and Global Cebu round things up with a 7:00 PM match. — CAL

A Journey for the Ages: The Filipinas’ AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualification

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The Philippine Women’s National Team were down by a single goal against Bahrain heading into the final ten minutes. The Filipinas had been having an imposing run in tournament, drubbing all their opponents so far.

Each match had its heroines: Eva Madarang scored the first goal in the first three games. First timers Irish Navaja and Mary Cristine Duran scored a goal each in their national team debuts. In the match against Iraq, the Filipinas scored all four goals in the first half. 17-year-old Anicka Castañeda scored twice against Tajikistan. Hali Long netted a hat-trick of headers against the same opposition en route to an 8-0 win.

But in the match versus Bahrain, midfielder SaraCastañeda shone the brightest. The De La Salle midfielder scored the deciding goal in the 82nd minute to send the Philippines back to the AFC Women’s Cup for the first time since 2003, and with a game to spare.

Castañeda was still over the moon when asked about the goal and the game. It was the midfielder’s fourth goal of the qualifiers having scored in every single game.

“I’m very grateful! I am still speechless that we actually made it to the next round,” said the soft spoken Castañeda. “Hopefully we will be able to prepare so we can do well for Jordan.”

Both captain Patrice Impelido and goalkeeper Inna Palacios hailed Castaneda and the whole team’s effort to put the Filipinas back in the game after Bahrain took the lead in the 55th minute from Noora Al-Dossary.

“Even though Bahrain were able to score first we never gave up,” Impelido said. “We kept fighting. We kept our composure and worked as a team, and that’s how Sara was able to score that equalizer.”

“That goal happened way too fast. We were trying to organize the defensive line and then Bahrain did a quick play. We weren’t able to react fast enough,” recalled Palacios. “I’m not surprised that Sara was able to score. She has a great eye and good anticipation of the game. (She was) just in the right place at the right time and we badly needed that equalizer so we all celebrated when she scored.”

The qualification to the Women’s Asian Cup also extinguished the ghosts of 2013. Previously, the Philippines failed to qualify for the tournament proper after a 1-0 loss to Thailand. Both Impelido and Palacios were part of that squad.

Impelido thought of the qualification to the final round as “a roller-coaster ride of emotions.”

“I was talking with Inna (Palacios) before the game and saying that ‘we’re almost there.’ One more game. Only 90 minutes,” said Impelido. “When that final whistle blew, we did it! We’re going to Jordan! We hugged and cried tears of joy.”

Palacios, on the other hand, felt that the qualification was the fruit of the sacrifices she and the team had to make in order to reach the Asian Cup.

“This journey is probably the hardest so far because of all our other commitments like UAAP, school, injuries, plus we didn’t have enough time for preparation, which makes it special, and difficult. All the effort, time, double trainings, sleepless nights for school, just all the sacrifices we made were worth it,” explained Palacios. “The feeling of being able to do something you thought you couldn’t do is just so rewarding. I can’t find the right words to describe how I feel. I just know that I’m beyond blessed and thankful for this team and everyone behind us, who’s been with us through thick and thin.”

PFF Women’s Committee Chairperson and team manager Lalaine Sarmiento echoed the players’ words.

“We had to either win or draw to a point that we were praying, cheering and motivating the players on the field,” Sarmiento said. “It’s hard to explain the exact feeling but its a feeling of excitement, fulfillment, and that we still need to be focused and composed.”

With the participants for next year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup already set, Sarmiento is aware that the team should start preparing ahead of time. The Philippines will be up against tournament hosts Jordan, and Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam in the Asian Cup.

“The PFF and the Women’s department will prepare for the journey towards the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018,” added Sarmiento.

The AFC Women’s Asian Cup serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be held in France in 2019. The top five teams at the end of the Women’s Asian Cup will qualify for the Women’s World Cup.

In light of the Filipinas’ success, PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes has already pinned his hopes that the Women’s Team will be allowed to compete in the upcoming South East Asian Games. The SEA Games will be held in Malaysia this coming August and the Filipinas would make the tournament part of their preparation for the Women’s Asian Cup.

“It’s a young and fearless team,” said Gastanes on the Filipinas. “The PFF hopes that the POC-PSC SEA Games 2017 Task Force approve our earlier request to send a women’s football team to the SEA Games this August 2017. Our current women’s football campaign deserves no less.”

What a journey the Filipinas have been on so far, and what a journey it’s going to be yet. — CAL

Filipinas Qualify for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup

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The Philippine Women’s National Team earned their rightful place in next year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup after a heart-stopping 1-1 draw against Bahrain last night at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Sara Castaneda was the heroine for the Filipinas. The midfielder struck gold in the 82nd minute to send the Philippines back into the Women’s Asian Cup. It will be the Filipinas’ first appearance in the tournament proper since 2003.

“It was a crazy match. It was like playing for the title. I am speechless,” said head coach Letecia Bautista. “At half-time I said to my players that they needed to find some composure. Bahrain also really wanted the slot and we just had to remember how we played in the last three games.”

The Filipinas remained in second place, behind Jordan, with ten points, but since Jordan are already through as tournament host, the Philippines go through to the next stage.

Going into the match, the Philippines only needed a draw against Bahrain to qualify. However, Bahrain proved to be a worthy opponent, suppressing the Philippines’ attacking threat for most of the match.

Two chances from Bahrain in the 27th and 34th minutes almost proved to be costly, but the Philippine defense held. The Philippines came close late in the first half with chances from Hanna Parado and top scorer Eva Madarang going to waste the half ended scoreless.

Bahrain pressed on early in the second half and were rewarded in the 55th minute. Noora Al-Dossary was through on goal and lofted the ball over a rushing Inna Palacios to put her side ahead.

Despite being a goal down early in the second half, however, the Philippines found the resolve to carry on in the hope of finding the equalizer.

Madarang should have drawn level at the hour-mark but the flag was up and her goal was nullified. The chance to equalize seemed to have passed as Bahrain began to waste the clock as the match went on to the dying minutes.

But the Philippines did not let up and finally got the break they needed in the 82nd minute. Patricia Tomanon sent a long ball into the path of Madarang. The forward flicked it to an open space where Castaneda came rushing in and scored the historic goal that sent the Philippines through to Jordan.

Defender Claire Lim almost sealed the three points for the Philippines late on, but her shot from outside ricocheted off the post.

The job is not yet done for the Philippines. The Filipinas take on leaders Jordan on Wednesday, April 12, at 1:00 PM local time (4:00 PM Manila time). — CAL

PFF to Issue Club Licenses to 8 Clubs for the Inaugural Season of the Philippines Football League

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The Philippine Football Federation is set to issue to eight (8) clubs that have applied to participate in the Philippines Football League.
These 8 clubs, after evaluation of their submissions, have substantially complied with the criteria imposed by the PFF Club Licensing Regulations.
The commercialization of the PFL and its financial model was completed with the assistance of Red Card Global, an international sports marketing agency based in Singapore. The agency is also the exclusive commercial agent of the PFL for the next 6 years, tasked with growing the league’s commercial potential both locally and internationally.
PFF President Mariano V. Araneta stated: “The success of the National League is very important for the further growth of Philippine football. I thank all stakeholders, including the upcoming sponsors, private club investors, stadia owners, players and football fans in keeping faith with us in the PFF to have this professional football league.”
Executive Chairman of Red Card Global R. Sasikumar also said: “We are proud to have played a part in assisting the PFF in this endeavor. It is our hope that this model propels Philippine football to a new level. With 100 million people in the Philippines and another 10 million outside the country, commercially this provides huge opportunities for the PFL.”
The PFL is set to sign terms with national broadcaster, People’s Television Network, Inc. (PTV), to be the Free-To-Air partner for the inaugural season of the PFL. Several other broadcast deals are now being discussed and will be confirmed before the start of the season.
The 8 clubs and nominated home stadia are Ceres Negros FC (Panaad Park and Stadium, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental); Davao Aguilas FC (Davao del Norte Sports & Tourism Stadium, Tagum City); Global Cebu FC (University of San Carlos Stadium, Cebu City); Ilocos United FC (President Elpidio Quirino Stadium-Vigan, Ilocos Sur); JPV Marikina FC (Marikina Sports Complex, Marikina City); Kaya FC-Makati (UMak Football Stadium, Makati City); and Stallion Laguna FC (Binan Football Stadium, Binan City, Laguna). Loyola Meralco Sparks FC is nominating Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila.
Each licensed club will need to sign a franchise agreement with the PFF to be able to compete in the PFL.
The PFL will have a formal launch on 20 April 2017 with the kick-off of the first match scheduled on Saturday, 29 April 2017 (venue TBA).
Participating clubs will play on a Home-and-Away format, with the top 4 clubs after two (2) rounds competing in a Finals Series. Matches will be played every Saturdays and Sundays, with the first match slated on 4:00PM-6:00PM time slot. The fixtures and the broadcast schedule of live matches will be announced during the launch.
04 April 2017
Atty. Edwin B. Gastanes
PFF General Secretary

Filipinas Chase History in AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers

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The road to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup begins as the Philippine Women’s National Team head to Tajikistan to participate in the Qualifiers which kicks off tonight, April 3.

The Filipinas are in Group A with Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Tajikistan, and the United Arab Emirates. The top team at the end of the Qualifiers will go through to the final round which will be held in Jordan in 2018. However, in the event that Jordan tops the group, the second placed team will advance to the next round because Jordan are hosts of the final round.

19 players were called up to represent the country in the Qualifiers. The players are a mix of UAAP and foreign-based players. Leticia Bautista is the head coach while PFF Women’s Committee head Lalaine Sarmiento is the team manager.

The selection of players did not come easy. The national pool consisted of primarily college players, who are also playing in the UAAP. In a remarkable move, the UAAP decided to go on a break to make way for the Qualifiers. Despite the break, several players from the pool begged off from the squad because of academics.

Defender Patrice Impelido did not dwell on the obstacles the team faced during the run-up to the Qualifiers, and is confident that the Philippines can qualify to the next round.

“With the short preparation, we’re ready but, we can’t take our opponents for granted,” said Impelido, who is one of the team’s veterans. “I know (playing in) the national team is not easy. You have to work hard for it.”

A spot in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 will be on the line during the Asian Cup. Previously, Philippines missed the chance to qualify to the next round when Thailand qualified to both the Asian Cup and the World Cup.

“To see Thailand qualify to the (Asian Cup and World Cup) left me to think that we could have beaten them (and qualify),” added Impelido. “Now, we have to fight for our spot because we all want the same thing — to qualify for Jordan 2018.”

“With our lineup, we have a great chance (of going through),” said US-based midfielder Hanna Parado. “Qualifying to the World Cup, that’s the end goal.”

The Filipinas will begin their campaign with a match against the United Arab Emirates tonight, April 3. Kick off is at 7:00 PM local time (10:00 PM Manila time) and will be shown via live streaming at https://mycujoo.tv/ch/273?id=4540. — CAL

Azkals Begin Asian Cup Campaign with Five-Goal Thriller Against Nepal

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The Philippine Men’s National Team began their AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign on the right foot as they inflicted a 4-1 win over 10-man Nepal last night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Phil Younghusband scored twice to ensure the Philippines collected maximum points in their opening Group F match. Iain Ramsay and Javier Patino were the other goalscorers for the Azkals.

“It’s the first game of the group and we wanted a good start,” said Younghusband. “Although we wanted a win in the friendlies, it’s all preparation for the big one. Our goal is to be in the Asian Cup.”

Coach Thomas Dooley reshuffled his squad from the Malaysia friendly. After a prolonged absences from the lineup, Carlie De Murga made his first start for the Azkals at right back while Jeffrey Christiaens was on the left side. Amani Aguinaldo and Daisuke Sato were the heart of defense. Dennis Villanueva and James Younghusband controlled the midfield with Ramsay and Mike Ott manning the flanks. Younghusband and Patiño were deployed up front.

The Philippines began the match blazing and gained a man advantage in the 12th minute as the Azkals won a penalty. Defender Bikram Lama was sent off for handling the ball after a Patiño header. Phil Younghusband stepped up to take the penalty but was denied by Kiran Limbu.

Nine minutes later, the Philippines won a second penalty kick after Ananta Tamang brought down Ott in the box. Younghusband had the chance to redeem himself and duly converted his 44th international goal.

“My dad always told me that when you’ve missed one, it’s important (that) you take the next one because otherwise that would play on your mind until the time you do score.” said Younghusband on the two penalty kicks. “It’s always important to get a goal as soon as possible when you do miss a penalty because then you forget the missed one and I was happy I was able to have another chance.”

The opening goal set the tone for the Azkals as they scored two more goals in a span of eight minutes. Younghusband got his second of the night — and 45th overall — after a neat pass from Ott left Limbu in no man’s land.

Ramsay added a third in the 27th minute. A mad scramble inside the penalty box allowed the winger to smash in a volley from inside the box.

It seemed to be smooth sailing for the Azkals from then on. However, Nepal exposed the Azkals defense right before half-time as the visitors reduced the cushion with a decent effort from substitute Bishal Rai to end the first half at 3-1.

However, Patiño restored the three-goal cushion to extinguish any hopes of a Nepalese comeback in the in the 73rd minute. The forward was given enough space in the box and rifled a shot past Limbu to put a stamp in their first Asian Cup qualifier match.

Dooley was fairly impressed with the outcome of the match despite the lone conceded goal. The Philippines sits atop Group F level with Yemen, who won 2-1 against Tajikistan, at three points, but the Philippines have a better goal differential.

“Overall, I’m very happy with the three points,” said Dooley. “After we scored the first goal, we were able to create more chances.”

Up next for the Azkals in the Asian Cup Qualifiers is a match against Tajikistan on June 13 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. — CAL

Asian Cup Dream Beckons for Azkals

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The Philippine Men’s National Team embark on a new journey as the Azkals take on Nepal in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Azkals waited four months to return to competitive action and now aspire to be one of the 12 remaining teams that will participate in the Asian Cup. The Asian Cup is a quadrennial event where all member associations of AFC participate. The Philippines are the top seeded team in Group F, which consists of Nepal, Tajikistan, and Yemen. The top two teams in each group at the end of the Qualifiers will advance to the final round which will be held in 2019 at the United Arab Emirates.

The chance to qualify in Asia’s showpiece event is something that both the players and coach Thomas Dooley yearn for especially after getting close to qualifying in 2014.

“This is the highest achievement that we can get,” said Dooley. “We want to be there and that’s our ultimate goal. It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible.”

Skipper Phil Younghusband recalled the past two heartbreaks for the Azkals and stated that the team has learned a lot from those losses. The Azkals lost to Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup final in 2014, which served as the qualifiers to the AFC Asian Cup 2015 and lost to Turkmenistan in the 2012 Challenge Cup.

“Looking back, in 2012 and especially in 2014 we fell short by a goal, we felt very disappointed that time,” said Younghusband. “It’s in the past. The team has now gone better and better and we know that we got such a great opportunity here and we’re confident we can do the job.”

However, they first need to contend with a familiar foe in Nepal. Tonight’s match will be their fourth meeting since 2011, and their first competitive match. The Philippines won their last three matches against Nepal, 4-0, 3-0, and 3-0. Nepal advanced to the qualifiers, replacing Kuwait, who are still suspended by FIFA. Last year, Nepal made history by winning the first ever AFC Solidarity Cup following a 1-0 win over Macau.

“It gives us confidence knowing the past results vs Nepal, but (tonight will be) a different game,” added Younghusband. “We have to take every precaution in the best way possible because this will be a different team we face.”

The match kicks off at 8:00 PM and will be shown exclusively via live streaming at http://mycujoo.tv/ch/340?id=4994. — CAL

Philippines, Malaysia Battle to a Fifth Straight Stalemate

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The Philippines were again left frustrated after a scoreless draw against Malaysia last night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The last time the Philippines won versus the Malaysians was 26 years ago during the 1991 SEA Games.

The draw was their fifth consecutive stalemate dating back to 2012 and their fourth straight 0-0 scoreline. The draw again raised questions about the Azkals’ ability to score.

“We made chances and had possession most of the time. That’s what we expected,” said head coach Thomas Dooley after the match. “We need to score goals to win games so our focus on the next couple of days will be on finishing, finishing, finishing.”

The Philippines could have had the brightest of starts in the opening minute. Amani Aguinaldo teed the ball up for Phil Younghusband in the box. The Azkals skipper looked to have been brought down by a Malaysian defender but the referee waved play on.

Younghusband had a goal disallowed in the eighth minute. The forward was at the end of a Javier Patino feed but the linesman’s flag was up for offside. The captain had another chance in the 20th minute, but his shot was denied by Khairulazhan Khalid.

Concerns mounted at the half hour mark when Misagh Bahadoran went down with a leg injury. Mike Ott came in to replace the winger, but both teams were unable to break the deadlock and finished the first half at 0-0.

The second half saw both teams try to break each other’s defense but to no avail. Substitute Hikaru Minegishi came close for the Philippines in the 72nd minute when the winger was released by Fitch Arboleda but the shot from a tight angle went straight to the goal keeper.

The same can be said for Malaysia. Veenod Subramaniam almost won it for the visitors in the 89th minute. The Malaysian substitute was through on goal and had only Neil Etheridge to beat, but the effort went wide.

Arboleda had the final chance of the game late in added time. The forward unleashed a strike from just the edge of the area but the ball whiskered wide right before the final whistle.

Following the draw, the Philippines now shift their focus to the start of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers which begins with the match against Nepal on Tuesday, March 28 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Tickets are already available at SM Tickets. — CAL

Philippines Marks Return with Friendly vs Malaysia

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The Philippine Men’s National Team make their much awaited return to the pitch with a FIFA International Friendly Match against Malaysia tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The match will be the first time the entire team will be together following the AFF Suzuki Cup campaign where the Philippines failed to advance to the next round.

Speaking ahead of the friendly, Azkals coach Thomas Dooley said that he hoped his side gets the better of Malaysia ahead of their AFC Asian Cup qualifier match against Nepal next week. The past four meetings between the two sides ended in draws.

“It’s a long time ago and we feel this is the right time,” said Dooley, who made his debut as Azkals coach against the same opponent. “It’s way too long so we have to prepare for the game. We only play eight games a year and obviously we like to win every game.”

Dooley has a full squad at his disposal. Neil Etheridge, Daisuke Sato, Mike Ott, and Javier Patino, are all available for the friendly. Save from Ott, the three were unavailable during the Suzuki Cup because the tournament did not fall during FIFA International dates. AFC Cup teams Ceres Negros FC and Global FC have a combined total of 15 players in the squad while Loyola Meralco Sparks FC have two players. Stallion Laguna FC and Kaya Makati FC have one player each in the lineup.

“It does come to mind that we haven’t won against Malaysia,” said skipper Phil Younghusband. “If we want to go further, we have to beat the teams that we have yet to beat in the past.”

The match kicks off at 7:30 PM and will be shown live at http://pff.org.ph/pff-tv. — CAL

Araneta to Bid for FIFA Council Seat

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) recently announced the eight candidates vying for membership in the FIFA Council. The FIFA Council is the sport’s main decision-making body and is composed of 37 members headed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

In the running for the post is Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta, who is also a member of the AFC Executive Committee. “I’m happy that a lot of people are coming out to support (my bid),” said Araneta. “Since I’m the only candidate from the ASEAN region, I hope the region will also support my bid.”

If elected, Araneta will be the first Filipino to hold a seat in the FIFA Council. The election will be held on May 8 when the AFC holds its Congress in Bahrain.

“This is a chance for a Filipino to be in the FIFA Council,” said Araneta, who was also recently became a FIFA Associations Committee member.

The AFC currently holds three positions in the council with four positions available. Araneta will contest for one of the three positions in the Council against the incumbent Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Zhang Jian of China, and Mong Gyu Chung of South Korea.

“There are four of us vying for three positions,” added Araneta. “(To win) you need at least 25 votes (from the AFC Member Associations).”

The fourth position in the Council, according to the FIFA Statutes, must be filled in by a woman. The candidates are Moya Dodd of Australia, Mahfuza Akhter of Bangladesh, Has Un Gyong of North Korea, and Susan Alshalabi of Palestine. — CAL

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