Dear friends in football,
As the year 2018 draws to a close, we can look back on what has been another momentous year for Philippine football.
Our Women’s National Team made history having competed bravely in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 in Jordan. They had a spirited start having beaten host Jordan in the opening match, but missed out on qualification to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paris, France. The team also secured a berth to the second round of the 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Asian Qualifiers after hurdling the first round of qualifiers in Tajikistan last November. We look forward with excitement on the team’s bid of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in April 2019.
The Girls Under-16 National Team also qualified to the AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers second round next year after performing well in the first round of qualifiers last September 2018 in Nepal.
The PFF Women’s League also thrived this season with 10 participating teams, whose players made up the core of the Women’s National Team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
Professional football club Ceres Negros FC once again were crowned Philippines Football League champions, while Kaya FC Iloilo won the first Copa Paulino Alcantara. We wish these two teams good luck as they represent Philippine club football in the AFC Club Competitions next year.
In the technical aspect of football development, the PFF has been bestowed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) the A Level Membership in the AFC Coaching Convention. Starting next year, the PFF has the right to organize AFC ‘A’ and AFC ‘B’ Diploma Courses in the Philippines and to issue the corresponding AFC diplomas and licenses in accordance to the AFC Coaching Convention. Only a few Member Associations have been granted this right. This is a reward for the PFF’s focus on strengthening the technical capabilities of coaches and a testament to its organizational capacities; this year again numerous coaching and refereeing courses were conducted resulting in increased number of licensed coaches and referees nationwide.
The Men’s National Team also made their mark during the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018. The team advanced to the semifinals for the fourth time since 2010. Their remarkable run, cut short by eventual champions Vietnam, showed the team’s true grit on and off the pitch.
Lastly, we call on all sports and football stakeholder and fans to rally behind the Azkals once more as they make their historic debut in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 this January 2019. The odds may be against them as they face powerhouses Korea Republic and China PR, and Kyrgyz Republic, but our Men’s National Team is eager to “dream the impossible” and play to win for flag and country.
While this year showed the strides in Philippine football development, we should look forward with more determination in 2019 which will bring us more challenges and more opportunities as we together continue our efforts in strengthening grassroots and youth football, women’s football, and buttressing our Regional Football Associations, local clubs and schools which have been helping us promote football across the country.
We wish everyone a Joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Mariano V. Araneta Jr. Atty. Edwin B. Gastanes
PFF President PFF General-Secretary