The Philippine Football Federation received new equipment from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines on Thursday, which it hopes will significantly contribute to the development of the sport in the country.
These goods included 48 balls used by the Japanese national team, various apparel, and knowledge transfer from the Japanese Football Association.
“We appreciate not only what the Japanese government has done but also the Japan Football Association, which has been very supportive of us ever since I took over the presidency in 2010 or 2011,” said PFF President Nonong Araneta.
“When I became president, they were the first country to congratulate me. They sent somebody here to congratulate me at that time. After that, we had collaborations with them already… They supported our FOF. Every year, there are grants, and they invite us every year for the JENESYS project, wherein our under-14 team goes to Japan to play against other ASEAN teams,” the amiable sports executive continued.
“So it has been a very fruitful cooperation with Japan. I’m happy that the Japanese embassy is also donating equipment to our players, the Philippine football players.”
Araneta stated that the balls will be used by participants in the PFF’s Talent Developmental System, a FIFA project, while the national women’s futsal team will use the apparel.
The PFF operates the TDS in Manila and Cebu, with Tetsuya Tsuchida, the federation’s Head of Youth Development, leading the initiative along with local coaches.
“I’m hopeful that the Filipinas will continue to participate in every World Cup and that the Azkals will be able to make their debut in the tournament in two years’ time,” said Tsuchida.
“To achieve these goals, I recommend at least two equal-ranked measures. First, we need to develop and strengthen the Philippines’ youth players and coaches. Second, we need to enhance the popularity of football in the Philippines,” he continued.
“In line with this, I am currently working on a system to identify excellent players and coaches from all over the Philippines.”
Without a doubt, Philippine football needs all the help it can get to sustain the milestones it has achieved in the past few years.
These milestones include the Azkals reaching the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Ceres-Negros being crowned ASEAN Zonal Champions in the 2017 AFC Cup, and the participation of the Filipinas in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Philippines is gradually opening itself up to football, and having the assistance of its regional neighbor Japan will undoubtedly benefit the sport’s local development.
“Tunay na nakamamangha ang pagpupursige ng atletang Pinoy, at masasabi kong malaki ang potensyal niya sa larangang ito,” said Shigehiro Matsuda, First Secretary and Director at the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.
“I hope this donation bears witness to the growth of more young and talented Filipino football players and to the discovery of more homegrown talents who will proudly represent the country.”