Tuesday, January 11, 2011

PHL football program gets cash windfall

The Philippine men’s football team’s recent success in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup continues to reap results after three members of the West Asian Football Federation threw in their support for the country’s football program.

Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait have pooled together $100,000 (4,431,000) as a monetary grant to help the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) organize national tournaments.

The three Middle East nations gave the money and pledged to continue to do this for the next four years to make sure that the Philippines will continue to have a formidable national team capable of challenging Asia’s top teams.

They also offered to host the PHL national team, more popularly known as the Azkals, in a training camp to be staged in their countries for free.

“It was during the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) meeting in Doha where we met officials from Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain who joined hands to raise the money which will be for the staging of national competitions. The money for this year, in fact, has been remitted to the PFF bank account," said PFF president Mariano “Nonong" Araneta

The Football Federation of Indonesia has also remitted $150,000 (P6,646,500) as part of the country’s share of gate receipts in the Azkals’ matches against the Indonesian national team in the Suzuki Cup semifinals.

Araneta said the money will be used by the Azkals, who have been preparing for the AFC Challenge Cup against Mongolia. The first game of the two-game series will be held at Panaad Sports Complex in Bacolod on February 9 while the second game will be played in Mongolia on March 15.

Japan has also donated $20,000 (P886,200) as a grant to help PFF’s grassroots development program.

The windfall of financial assistance is outside of the $250,000 (P11,077,500) money FIFA gives to its member countries to be used for projects approved by the world governing body of football.

“The financial assistances extended is proof that other countries believe in the leadership of the current PFF officials, and we will be transparent on how the money will be used to show them that their support will be spent wisely and for the cited purposes," said Araneta.

A PFF meeting will be held on January 29 to determine the association’s plans for the year. Araneta said that he hopes to hold Under-19 and Under-23 tournaments, since the Philippines wants to compete in the Southeast Asian Games in Palembang Indonesia in November.

“By holding national tournaments, we will be able to discover more young talents who eventually will see action in the men’s team. I’m confident that with proper training, these young Filipino players will be able to become at par with our Fil-foreigners to strengthen the next national teams," said Araneta. – KY, JVP, GMANews.TV

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