08 August 2020

Maharlika FC signifies intent to join the PFL

 By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

Senior Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES Football League (PFL) could add another team in its fold with Maharlika FC signifying its intent to join the four-year-old league.

Led by former Philippine Azkals player and 7s Football League founder Anton del Rosario, Maharlika FC is currently in the process of working on its license to operate as a team and compete in leagues like the PFL.

“We are currently going through the process of getting our license. I think we have a pretty good lineup of players willing to play for the team,” shared Mr. Del Rosario in an online forum with sports media on Thursday.

“But we are more focused on presenting a new side to be able to show that we want to look towards the future and instead of just focusing on winning we want to create something sustainable where we get the supporters and the fans behind our team and push us to be competitive,” he added.

Mr. Del Rosario did not divulge the names of the players of Maharlika FC, reserving the announcement for a later date. But he did say that the team is to be composed of “former Azkals players, ex-pros and a few youth guys.”

The Maharlika FC founder went on to share that they hope through the team they get to continue doing their share in the development of the sport in the country and bringing people in to support the “beautiful game.”

On the part of the PFL, it said the league welcomes Maharlika FC if the latter does push through with its plans to join.

“They (Maharlika) have sent their intent to join and are undergoing licensing process and they have high chances of making it,” said PFL Commissioner Coco Torre in an online interview with BusinessWorld.

Mr. Torre said they like the enthusiasm that Mr. Del Rosario and his group are showing and view them as a good addition to the league if ever.

They are a very enthusiastic group and I see great potential with them because they have a vision which is aligned with ours. The way they plan to market their club will also help bring awareness and following to the league aside from their competitive attitude,” the PFL commissioner said.

If Maharlika FC successfully makes the cut, it will join Kaya FC-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC, Mendiola FC, United City Football Club, and the Azkals Development Team in the roster of teams competing.

The status of another team, Global FC, meanwhile, remains up in the air after it failed to honor its commitment to settle outstanding financial obligations with its players.


07 August 2020

Football: As roster begins to take shape, United City FC looking to bring back head coach


Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- United City FC has retained the core of the team that ruled the last three seasons of the Philippines Football "I know it must be tough to support a new club," he said in a message to their fans. "But I assure you that our goals haven't changed. I'd love to see our Ultras Ceres supporting United City FC."

United City, along with other PFL squads, has yet to return to training after modified enhanced community quarantine was put in place in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, including Cavite., including their talismanic team captain and top scorer.

The club, formerly known as Ceres Negros FC before being sold to a new ownership group last month, has announced that key players such as Stephan Schrock, OJ Porteria and Bievenido Maranon will remain with the team despite the change.

Schrock is the team's captain, a key fixture in the national team and one of the top midfielders in Southeast Asia. Maranon, meanwhile, was their top scorer from last season and has already netted five times in AFC competitions before sports were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Eric Gottschalk, who represents the new ownership group, said that aside from the players, they have also retained the core of the staff.

"We are maintaining all the staff that wants to return," he said in a recent press conference.

"(General manager) Ace (Bright) has been a superstar, supporting me with the players and with the whole transition," he added. "Big thank you to him. He's been very supportive."

"On the coaching side, the local coaches will remain," Gottschalk also assured.

The ownership group is also in contact with Serbian manager Risto Vidaković, who steered Ceres Negros in their successful campaigns in the PFL as well as in continental competitions.

According to Gottschalk, their issues with Vidaković are logistical, rather than contractual.

"It's not allowed for foreigners to enter the Philippines without a work visa," he explained.

"We hope to have more clarity on that point," Gottschalk added. "We're in touch with Coach Risto, and the intent is to try to bring him back."

Meanwhile, the players are expressing their excitement for the future of the club, which seemed uncertain last month before Gottschalk's group stepped in.

Porteria, in a Facebook post, stressed that while the club's name has changed, their ambitions remain the same.

All PFL teams will train at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona. 


04 August 2020

Global fails to stand by 10-day commitment, PFF to deliberate club status

By  Paolo del Rosario

Ten days after Global FC made a commitment to pay all outstanding wages to players and staff, the Philippines Football League (PFL) confirmed that the embattled club has failed to make good on that promise.

"It is very disappointing to hear that Global FC was not able to stand by their commitment despite being reminded within the 10 days to settle the outstanding wages," PFL Commissioner Coco Torre told ESPN5.com.

Global FC made a commitment with the PFL to settle unpaid wages and contractual obligations following a meeting with league officials on July 23. The PFL initially called for the meeting after allegations of Global failing to meet their financial obligations surfaced online.

The allegations first arose after Saya Jurada -- a local graphic designer -- took to social media with claims of non-payment of services rendered for Global. Newly-signed UK-based footballer John Cofie also aired his grievances and claimed he is owed six months' worth of wages and a signing fee.

Jurada later posted on social media that Global FC eventually settled their owing balance and thanked club management for "correcting their mistake" last July 29. Despite settling with Jurada, Torre admitted Global has not fulfilled all of their financial obligations as promised.

This is not the first time Global FC had financial issues, with past players claiming they are owed unpaid wages for the 2019 PFL season.

Global FC is operated by Mazinyi Management Ltd. -- a Hong Kong-based consortium. Mazinyi Management took control of the Philippine club in January of this year.

Global FC team consultant Mark Jarvis could not provide answers as to why Manazinyi Management could not keep their promise and said he is waiting to hear from ownership.

"I'm also waiting (sic) an explanation from Tami Manazinyi on what happened," Jarvis told ESPN5.com.

With Global failing to make good on their commitment, the PFL now turns to the Philippine Football Federation's (PFF) Licensing First Instance Body -- the national federation's decision-making body for pro club licenses. Without a pro club license, Global FC will not be allowed to participate in the PFL.

"The league takes note of this and shall relay accordingly to the (PFF) first instance body who will convene and discuss the status of the club," Torre said.


02 August 2020

United City FC signing Bienvenido Maranon


Welcome back Bienvenido Maranon (#7) This is his 5th year with the team helping to win the league championship in the past 4 seasons. During the current 2020 AFC Champions League Qualifiers and the ongoing AFC Cup, he started in all 6 games scoring a total of 5 goals.

31 July 2020

Cooper sees tournament postponement as chance to bolster Azkals


Philippine Azkals coach Scott Cooper believes the postponement of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup from November to next year is the correct decision, even as he intends to maximize the time to plan and build a squad that will finally end the country’s wait for a title in the regional tournament.
Reacting to the AFF’s announcement on the postponement of the competition due to the COVID-19 situation, Cooper said the rescheduling of the tournament was understandable because of the logistical demands of the tournament.

“While it’s really disappointing because the Suzuki Cup is for Southeast Asian pride and it’s a well regarded tournament where everybody competes at the full extent, we also have to consider that the Suzuki Cup is not like other tournaments,” Cooper said.

“There’s a lot of traveling in between the two group stages, semifinals and the finals so there’s a lot of logistics that the AFF has to consider so I actually understand the decision.”
In a statement released last Thursday night, AFF said the health and safety of the players, coaches, partners, fans and public are of the highest priority.
“Since the onset of COVID-19, the AFF has been closely monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization, Health Ministries, government agencies, Fifa and AFC,” AFF president major general Khiev Sameth said.
“This pandemic continues to pose enormous health, societal and economic challenges to us all. AFF’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of our football family and mitigating the impact of this pandemic. With the risk of the spread of COVID-19 remaining high, the AFF finds itself in a situation where we cannot proceed safely with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020.”
Cooper said he intends to use the delay to further strengthen plans to bolster the Philippine squad, half of which plays in the Thai League.
“From the Philippines’ perspective, we have a chance to keep improving like we have been and be even more ready for next year,” Cooper said. “We will take this [postponement] in a positive way given that we can continue to plan, continue to build and see what we can do with players who will be involved going forward.”
“This postponement will benefit us.”

Read more: https://sports.inquirer.net/399985/cooper-sees-tournament-postponement-as-chance-to-bolster-azkals#ixzz6ToPgRlxW

Football: PFF optimistic United City FC will be allowed to play in AFC Cup

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is optimistic that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will allow United City FC to keep its place in the 2020 AFC Cup.
United City FC is the new name of Ceres-Negros FC, one of two teams along with Kaya-Iloilo representing the Philippines in the continental competition. 
The club was renamed after a new ownership group acquired Ceres-Negros from Leo Rey Yanson, the previous owner.
"We have to write to AFC (and tell them), this is the same team, except (with new) owners," PFF president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta said. 
"There's a change in ownership, but it's basically the same team, with the same players. It's just a change of ownership," he added. "And I think AFC will agree to that, that it's just a change of the name itself, but the club is still the same as far as the competition is concerned."
Before the competition came to a halt because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Ceres-Negros had been leading the way in Group G of the AFC Cup with seven points on two wins and a draw. 
Kaya-Iloilo was in second in Group H, with five points on a win and two draws.
"We want them (United City FC) to represent us in the AFC Cup," Araneta said. "The groupings are already determined."
"Hopefully, there is no disruption in the schedule, because we are putting up not a new team, but the same team with a different name," he added.
Araneta also expressed his gratitude to the United City FC ownership, represented by MMC Sportz Asia chief executive Eric Gottschalk, for investing in the club.
"When Ceres advised us that there might be a chance that they will not participate anymore, it was really a big letdown. Fortunately, Eric's group came in and talked to the Ceres people, and it went well," he said.
"We would like to thank Ceres. They have been here in the Philippine football scene for so many years, and they have represented the country in Asia," he added.
Gottschalk, for his part, credited the previous ownership group for the smooth transfer. Yanson had agreed to sell not just the team, but its license as well, and thus it was not necessary for Gottschalk and his group to apply for a new one.
"(If we had) to apply for a new license… we would not have been able to participate this year in the league and the AFC Cup," he explained. "The players and the staff would not have been able to play football over the next few months. Thank you very much to Mr. Yanson and his team." 

30 July 2020

United City FC - Signings

United City FC
Confirmed signed - Updated : 1. Stephan Schröck 2. OJ Porteria 3. Sean Kane 4. Ron Bayan 5. Jun Badelic 6. Angelo Marasigan 7. Robert Mendy 8. Arnie Pasinabo
9. Tristan Robbles

28 July 2020

Schrock now has dual role at United


Back in his hometown in Schweinfurt, Germany, Azkals captain Stephan Schrock had been pondering his next career move the last few weeks following the decision of Ceres-Negros to transfer its ownership to new investors

There were offers from clubs from more established leagues in Germany, Thailand and even South Korea, but the two-time Mr. Football of the Philippine Sportswriters Association always felt he could do more if he played in the Philippines, making his decision easy.
The 33-year-old Schrock decided on Wednesday to stay in the Philippines Football League with United City FC (UCFC), the new club that took over the Ceres-Negros franchise.

“I’m excited to help a newly formed club,” Schrock told the Inquirer. “I had offers from many different leagues, but the talks with general manager Ace Bright and the new management were fruitful and promising.”Schrock will not only serve as captain of the club, but also be part of the coaching staff as an assistant.
The signing of Schrock augurs well for the club, which has also secured the commitment of 15 other players from the Ceres squad, including top scorer Bienvenido Marañon.
“Having Stephan commit to staying at the new club means a lot not just to the organization but also to the fans,” UCFC cofounder Eric Gottschalk said.
“He is the captain and the leader of the team and that is what is needed especially since we are trying to establish our new identity on and off the field.”Since it will be taking over Ceres’ spot, UCFC remains in contention in the 2020 AFC Cup, where it currently leads its group that includes Bali United, Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam and Svay Rieng of Cambodia. The AFC has scheduled the group stage to be played in late September in Vietnam.
“We had many talks over the past few weeks and Stephan is very clear where he wants to go: He wants to be able to compete at the highest level and be able to win more titles but he also wants to prepare for his second career once he steps off the field—so our objectives are aligned perfectly well,” Gottschalk said.
“For the 2020 season, Stephan will not only lead the team on the field as captain but also off the field as a playing-assistant coach as a first step to fulfill his ambition to become a fully certified football coach in the coming years.” INQ

Read more: https://sports.inquirer.net/399724/schrock-now-has-dual-role-at-united#ixzz6TWSLEKY8