IT'S just about time for Mindanao to be represented in the Philippine Football League (PFL) as Aguilas Football Club (FC), under Davao Aguilas, Incorporated (DAI), awaits approval of its club license from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
DAI chief executive officer Ramon Manuel, who was a guest along with Aguilas FC coaches Melchor Anzures and Ramonito "Lalas" Carreon during Thursday's Davao Sportswriters Association Forum at a mall in this city, said PFF has yet to release the clubs that have been accepted for the PFL, which according him to him, will start on April 22 to December this year.
"The requirements were not easy but we were able to comply," Manuel said, adding that Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario has agreed to make Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex football pitch as the Aguilas' home venue since the PFL will be played on a home-and-away format.
Manuel said Aguilas FC team owner Jefferson Cheng has businesses and properties in Davao and considering that Davao City and the rest of Mindanao have been producing promising football players to the national team the likes of Dabawenyos Anzures and Hershey Salmon. Thus, he formed a professional team to represent Mindanao in the PFL.
He cited Amani Aguinaldo, now with the Philippine Azklas men's national football team, who studied elementary at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) as well as the Diamante brothers of the Dela Salle University, Gio, Gelo and Jed who also hail from Davao City and also studied at ADDU and former Far Eastern University standout Arnel Amita of Far Eastern University, among others, as among those who are currently making names in football in Metro Manila.
Manuel also said, "No other sponsors have chosen to form a team from Mindanao when Mindanao has 17 active regional football associations compared to Luzon's 11 and five from the Visayas. No club from Mindanao, except us, has applied for club license."
He added they held tryouts for under-22 players to form Aguilas FC.
Anzures, Aguilas FC head coach, said the team has players who have just returned training recently.
"Ang iba mga ilang months din hindi nakakakapaglaro pero I believe makaka-recover din (Some were not able to play for month but I believed they will recover)," he said. They are focused on getting players in shape for the competition.
He added, "Sabi nga ni Sir Cheng na (Sir Cheng said that)90 percent endurance and strength talaga ang kakailanganin ng (needed for the)team. We need players to last for 90 minutes and more the better."
Davao Region Football Association president Erwin Protacio, meanwhile, lauded DAI for putting up the club as it gives opportunities and support local coaches and athletes.