MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) bagged the President Recognition Award for Grassroots Football during the awards night gala of the 60th anniversary celebration of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel on Sunday, November 30.
The award, which was also given to the football associations of India and Tajikistan, is given as recognition of the exemplary effort of the AFC-member nation to propagate sport in the grassroots level.
“Of course I feel happy, not just for the federation, but also for those sponsors that have been with us in implementing the grassroots programs. We will continue to implement this and of course I want to thank PAGCOR for helping us start it all.” PFF President Mariano Araneta said in an interview about the award that was handed to the country’s football program.
Meanwhile, Araneta stressed that he is thankful that Asia’s football governing body chose to go back to its roots here in the country to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
“The AFC was founded here in 1954, we were one of the founding members and today’s event is something that recognizes that [the organization of] Asian football started here. So I’m honored that the AFC has bestowed us this honor to host the event.”
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The prestigious event was attended by football dignitaries from all over the world including the presidents of the AFC-member countries and a FIFA delegation headed the its president Joseph Blatter.
Several other awards were also given that night to acknowledge the efforts of the men and women of Asian football.
Japan’s Junji Ogura was awarded the coveted AFC Diamond of Asia award, an honor that is bestowed to any individual who have contributed to the growth and development of football in the continent.
The AFC Dream Asia Award was handed to the Qatar Football Association for their involvement to AFC efforts in social development.
The member association of the year award was given to three organizations namely, Japan FA for the inspiring category, DPR Korea for the developing category, and to the Kyrgyz Republic for the aspiring category.
Palestine’s national team was awarded as the national team of the year while Korea Republic was presented with the fair play trophy.
Japan U17 women’s national team coach Asako Takemoto and Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was conferred as the AFC coaches of the year for the men and women’s categories.
Also, the Sydney Wanderers, who emerged as victors in the 2014 AFC Champions League, was presented with the Club Team of the Year award.
For the players of the year, Australia’s Katrina Leoo Gorry took the prize in the women’s category and Saudi Arabia’s Nassir Al Shamrani snatched the celebrated plum for the men’s category.
Earlier in the day, the delegates, headed by FIFA president Blatter, PFF president Araneta and AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, took part in the groundbreaking ceremony of the FIFA Goal Project III in Carmona, Cavite.
Lastly, the eventful weekend for the celebration of the anniversary of the Asian football organization will be capped off tomorrow in Palo, Leyte, where the delegates will attend the turnover ceremony of the newly built houses in the AFC Village to its beneficiaries.
The project was made through the cooperation between the AFC, PFF, Gawad Kalinga and the Pedrosa Family. – Rappler.com
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