31 July 2021

PFF First Instance Body Issues Decisions On Applicant Clubs


The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Club Licensing First Instance Body (FIB) convened to assess on the extraordinary applications of two clubs that have expressed interest to compete in the Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways Season 2021.

After careful deliberation and evaluation, the FIB has issued a provisional PFF Club License to Dynamic Herb Cebu FC. However, the provisional license is subject to withdrawal if the club is unable to comply with the Sporting, Personnel and Administrative, and Legal criteria set in the PFF Club Licensing Regulations within the seven (7) day deadline set by the FIB .

The same body held their decision in abeyance on the application of LAOS FC, and instead extended the deadline for the applicant club to fulfill the Sporting, Personnel and Administrative, Legal, and Financial criteria set in the regulations. Failure to comply in the stipulated time frame will result in the denial of a license to LAOS FC.

PFF has already notified both Dynamic Herb Cebu FC and LAOS FC of the FIB decisions.

The FIB has yet to deliberate on the extraordinary application of Rapids FC pending the club’s completion of their requirements set in the regulations.

With the decisions of the FIB, there are currently six (6) licensed clubs that are permitted to compete in the 2021 season of the PFL: United City FC, Kaya FC-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC, Mendiola FC 1991, Maharlika Manila FC, and Dynamic Herb Cebu FC along with invited team Azkals Development Team, which is composed of the Philippine Men’s Under-23 National Team.


13 July 2021

Azkal Michael Kempter signs for Swiss club St Gallen


Der FC St.Gallen 1879 hat einen weiteren Neuzuzug getätigt. Linksverteidiger Michael Kempter stösst zum Team von Cheftrainer Peter Zeidler. Er hat einen Zweijahresvertrag bis zum Ende der Saison 2022/23 unterschrieben.

Kempter befand sich die vergangenen beiden Wochen bereits im FCSG-Probetraining und kam auch in den Testspielen gegen den SCR Altach und den VfB Stuttgart zum Einsatz.

Der 26-jährige Linksfuss, der auch im Mittelfeld eingesetzt werden kann, bestritt die vergangene Saison bei Neuchâtel Xamax FCS in der Challenge League und brachte es dabei auf 26 Einsätze. Seine fussballerische Ausbildung absolvierte der ehemalige Nachwuchsinternationale der Schweiz (bis U20) und aktuelle A-Nationalspieler der Philippinen beim FC Zürich. Bei den Zürchern debütierte er im April 2016 auch in der 1. Mannschaft.

Michael Kempter wird beim FC St.Gallen 1879 das Trikot mit der Nummer 24 tragen.

Nach dem Abgang von Miro Muheim zum Hamburger SV war für uns klar, dass wir uns auf der linken Seite noch verstärken wollten. Mit Michael Kempter haben wir nun einen Spieler gefunden, der mit seinem starken linken Fuss und seiner Fähigkeit, auf mehreren Positionen zu spielen, sehr gut zu uns passt. Er hat uns in den vergangenen beiden Wochen im Training überzeugt und wir sind froh, dass wir ihn zum FC St.Gallen 1879 holen konnten.

 Alain Sutter, Sportchef




11 July 2021

Football: Gov’t clearance needed for foreign players tapped by PFL clubs


By Manolo Pedralvez

Games and Amusements Board chairman Abraham Mitra on Friday said his office is reviewing the health and safety protocols submitted by the Philippines Football League, so it can begin club training in preparation for the league’s opening tentatively set for August 21.

But Mitra said there was an apparent snag involving the foreign players hired by some clubs that need to be cleared with other government agencies, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, and Malacañang. 

Among the PFL clubs that have foreign players are United City, Kaya-Iloilo and Stallion-Laguna.

“Our job is really not that easy. Some might ask why lobby in allowing these foreign players here who will bring money out of the country when we don’t even allow overseas tourists and investors to come over here yet,” Mitra said in an online press conference yesterday. 

“Under our present local conditions, foreigners are not allowed to enter the country unless they are deemed essential.”

Jun Bautista, head of GAB’s professional basketball and other professional games division, said Malacañang requires clubs to submit the contracts of their foreign players before it can give an exemption allowing them to stay and play in the country.

As the government agency overseeing professional sports, the GAB falls directly under the Office of the President.

The GAB chairman said it is working on these issues together with commissioners Ed Trinidad and Mario Masanguid. 

“Commissioner Ed and Mar have good working relations with the DFA and BI, respectively, so all of us are working together to thresh out these issues before we can give the go-signal for the PFL to resume club training,” Mitra said.

He noted that like all foreigners entering the Philippines, overseas players will have to undergo the government-mandated quarantine for 14 days and swab tests before they can move around the country.

Asked if foreign players could have a shorter quarantine period if they can show proof that they are completely vaccinated against COVID-19, Mitra said this matter would have to be taken up with the Inter-Agency Task Force overseeing the pandemic.

As a football enthusiast, Mitra said he understood the sufficient period needed for players to build up their fitness and conditioning before they can compete in the league. 

“This requires months so they can be match-fit. They just cannot just play right away because they might get injured if they are rushed into the field,” the GAB chairman noted. 

But unless this and other issues are resolved, he added, “we cannot give a definite timetable when the actual club training can resume. Despite being a staunch supporter of football, I am sorry we cannot give a definite date when that will happen.”

He said the GAB board would act on the PFL request for club training as soon as the GAB division headed by Bautista has submitted its recommendation.

“We cannot just rush into things without the proper study and evaluation, especially during this pandemic,” Mitra said. 

“But sana matuloy (ang PFL traning) at magawaan natin ng paraan. (Hopefully the PFL training can push through and we can find a way to do it.)”


ACL - United City Fc vs Daegu (South Korea)


ACL : Kaya Fc 0-1 Viettel Fc (Vietnam)


10 July 2021

 The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has named Marlon Maro as the head coach of the Philippine Women’s National Team.

An AFC Pro Diploma holder, Maro’s appointment coincides with the team scaling greater heights in the last four years highlighted by the team’s qualification to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2018, the fourth place finishes in the AFF Women’s Championship 2019 and the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, and the country reaching its highest FIFA ranking of 65th in 2020.

He will be tasked to lead the Women’s National Team to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 beginning with the qualifiers to be held this coming September 2021 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The AFC Women’s Asian Cup also serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Maro is also expected to lead the team in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, which may be held in Vietnam in 2022.

Prior to his appointment as the Women’s National Team head coach, Maro served as PFF Coaching Educator Head and one of his key accomplishments was the grant of the AFC Coaching Convention of A level membership to PFF in 2018. He also served as the head coach of the Philippine Men’s Under-23 National Team from 2015 to 2017.

Currently, he has been conducting the online training sessions with the team in preparation for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers.

“I am honored to be given the trust by the PFF to lead the Women’s National Team as it prepares to qualify for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup,” said Maro on his appointment. “The Women’s National Team rose through the ranks in recent years and the main goal of the team is not just to win an international tournament, but also, and more importantly, to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

PFF officials praised the appointment of Maro to the Women’s National Team.

“We are pleased to have Coach Maro lead the Women’s National Team as it embarks on its campaign to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World in 2023 Cup beginning with the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers this September 2021,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. “We wish him and the team all the best and we are hoping he can lead the team to more historic feats.”

“Coach Maro has been an instrumental figure in football both as a coaching instructor and as a head coach,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “As head coach of the Women’s National Team, we are confident that he can guide the team to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup and hopefully to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”


Philippines Men’s Under-23 In Group H For The AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers

 The Philippine Men’s Under-23 National Team have been drawn to Group H following the conclusion of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers held last Friday 09 July 2021 at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur.

The Philippines, which were seeded in Pot 4, will face defending champions Korea Republic, Singapore, and Timor-Leste. The qualifiers will be held on 23-31 October 2021 in Singapore.

The Men’s U23 National Team will compete to be the top team in their group or finish as one of the four (4) best second placed teams to qualify for the final round which will be held in Uzbekistan on 1-19 June 2022.

This will be the team’s first competition back in action after featuring in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019 and PFF officials are looking forward to the team’s participation in the qualifiers.

“We wish the Philippine Men’s Under-23 National Team all the best in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. “This is a good gauge for the team which will form part of the core of the senior team in the future.”

“The draw saw the Philippines in a very competitive group with our fellow ASEAN neighbors and the defending champions,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “We wish the Men’s Under-23 team all the best as they prepare for the qualifiers.


07 July 2021

Bienve Maranon finally granted Filipino citizenship


BIENVENIDO Maranon is officially a Filipino.

The Spanish-born striker has finally been granted Filipino citizenship after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11570 into law last Friday.

It's a longtime coming for the United City FC striker, who is looking to bolster the Philippine Azkals in its numerous international campaigns.

Maranon even sung the Philippine national anthem Lupang Hinirang before the senators in one of the plenary sessions discussing House Bill No. 8631.

The 34-year-old has brought glory to the country in club competitions, leading Ceres-Negros to as far as the ASEAN Zonal Final of the AFC Cup in 2017 and 2018.


05 July 2021

Asian Champions League : Kaya Fc 1-2 Ulsan Hyundai

 Kaya FC-Iloilo’s rematch against Ulsan Hyundai FC ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Philippine side, who came agonizingly close to ending the defending champions’ record-breaking winning streak in the AFC Champions League. Despite being down to 10 men for an hour, the South Korean side managed to take home the points, winning 2-1 courtesy of the foot and face (literally) of last year’s MVP Yoon Bit-garam. The match could’ve just as easily gone Iloilo’s way, such was the fight they put up on the field tonight, but Jovin Bedic’s sensational strike was not enough.

Kaya came out with their usual lineup, except for Masanari Omura replacing Marwin Angeles who was unavailable due to accumulation of yellow cards. Zach Banzon also made his first appearance on the AFC Champions League stage, starting in goal in place of Mike Casas.

The goalkeeper’s debut was a busy one right from the start, with Ulsan attacking relentlessly over the first ten minutes. Despite some shaky looks early on, the Kaya Academy alum racked up both saves and confidence as the match progressed.

Ulsan would draw first blood in the 27th minute in truly bizarre fashion. After a failed cross into the box, a hurt Yoon Bit-garam fell to his knees in front of the goal. Play continued however, and Austrian forward Lukas Hinterseer’s shot wound up hitting Bit-garam right in the face and ricocheting in.

It was deflating moment for Kaya fans and players alike, but hope would return roughly five minutes later. Marco Casambre recieved a kick to the head when Kim Min-jun tried to go for the ball with a dangerous high boot. Casambre would eventually return after receiving treatment, but the Korean winger was sent off with a red card. The champs were suddenly down to ten men, and the challengers went into the break with a renewed hunger.

Their appetite would be satiated in the 47th minute courtesy of the captain himself. Ryo Fujii sent in a cross from the right side of the box towards a sprinting Daizo Horikoshi, who failed to make contact. The ball bounced perfectly, however, to Jovin Bedic towards the far post. The Barotac Nuevo native struck it first time to score his first goal in the ACL Group Stage in spectacular fashion, drawing Kaya level.

However, Ulsan took their lead back just four minutes later. Yoon Bit-garam struck once again in the 51st minute, and this time on purpose. Managing to receive a pass just inside the penalty box, the MVP sent in a volley past the outstretched Banzon.

What ensued after was nothing short of a stalemate. Kaya patiently worked to pry open another chance for an equalizer, however the champs held firm. Horikoshi Daizo took a shot from distance that sailed wide in the 67th minute, while Jhan Melliza’s strike in the 91st was on goal but swallowed up by the keeper.

Coach Graham Harvey used all five of his substitutes in the match in an attempt to unlock the opposition. Arnel Amita checked in for Masanari Omura at the half, Jhan Melliza came in for Jovin Bedic in the 79th, and Eric Giganto checked in for Ryo Fujii in the 84th. Fitch Arboleda and Jarvey Gayoso came in for Marco Casambre and Daizo Horikoshi in added time, but could only watch as the final whistle was blown.

Both Simone Rota and Kenshiro Daniels made their way into the referee’s book in this game. Rota got his yellow card after things got chippy with Ulsan defender Kim Tae-hyeon during a corner, while Daniels’ was after the forward made an aerial challenge.

It was an exhilarating match from beginning to end. Kaya gave the reigning champs the business in a game that was within reach, save for the MVP’s heroics—intended or not. It’s a loss that’ll sting for the ACL debutante, but it’s one they’ll have to carry as fuel for the final two matches in the group stage.


04 July 2021

2021 ACL Group Stage: Ulsan Hyundai FC vs. Kaya FC-Iloilo

 Kaya FC-Iloilo have yet to secure points through their first three ACL Group Stage fixtures, with their last outing a 0-3 defeat in their first matchup against Ulsan Hyundai FC. Despite the results, the Iloilo side showed marked improvement in their effort against last year’s champions. Whether or not the match was truly a turning point for the club, Coach Graham Harvey notes the progress they’ve made so far in the tournament. The two clubs will face each other again on July 5th at the Leo Stadium in Bangkok, with kickoff scheduled for 6pm Philippine time.

“In terms of our performance and learning on this big stage, we’re happy with how we’re progressing,” Harvey stated. “We feel as though our game against Ulsan was certainly a progression for us. Defensively—without the ball—it felt like we were a lot more organized, and we’re hoping to make sure that in the next three games we acquire some points.”

Simone Rota has been an important figure in Kaya’s backline, helping anchor and organize the aforementioned defense. Unfortunately, he was sent off early in the second half against BG Pathum United and was unavailable for the Viettel FC match. His return against Ulsan was a contributing factor to the team’s improved form, and he remarked on the positives they’ve taken away from the first half of the slate.

“After three games we don’t have any points, but we come out of every single game bringing positive experience. We try to apply what Coach is teaching us about this level and bring it back to the Philippines,” proclaimed Rota.

He was then asked about Kaya’s defensive approach from a statistical standpoint. The team currently ranks 31st and 20th out of 40 teams in fouls and tackles, respectively. In his response, the center-back spoke candidly.

“Honestly, we don’t really look at the statistics because every game is different,” Simone admitted. “We just put in 100% effort every game. It’s not a secret that the level is different, but we are here to give our best and fight to win games.”

Coach Harvey added, “There’s some style of play issues there that dictate whether you make tackles or not. Ulsan kept the ball incredibly well, massive credit to them for that. They had 78% possession in that last game, so our opportunities to tackle have been fairly limited.”

“We’ve seen some statistics there from Ulsan, having five goals conceded in the last twelve Champions League games. They’re a tough team to get the ball off,” he acknowledged.

In previous comments, Harvey revealed his intention to continue fielding different lineups in an effort to maximize the big stage experience for each player. He continued that sentiment today, saying, “We’ll make some changes for tomorrow, we’ll stir it up a little bit. We’ve got a few players that will come into contention for tomorrow for sure.”

Other than Audie Menzi’s header against Shanghai Port and Marwin Angeles’ late goal against BG Pathum United, Kaya FC-Iloilo has been held scoreless throughout their time in Bangkok. Coach Graham noted the players’ extended time away from the pitch as a likely cause for the club’s lack of goals.

“There are a couple of reasons definitely. Firstly, I think that maybe we’ve lacked a little bit of match sharpness. I know we’ve played a few matches now and we’re starting to build, but certainly across the last 18 months the boys haven’t played an awful lot of football.”

He later added, “We actually did our video analysis today and showed some examples to the boys of how they can create chances. We’re certainly hopeful that going into the next three games, we do score a few more.”

The players will look to continue to find their form over the last half of the group stage. Coach Harvey ended the press conference on a high note, taking into consideration the team’s continued development over the course of the first three matches.

“We also think you have to look at the standard of opposition that we’re playing against. We’re not particularly happy with how we played against Viettel, I think we did ourselves justice last game against Ulsan,” Coach concluded.

“We did have chances to score, we just maybe need to be a little bit more ruthless. We’re certainly going into the last three games confident and positive to put away our chances.”