CAGAYAN DE ORO

Nonong Araneta somersault kicks ball in PFF’s own goal

THE coming PFF election on Nov. 28 is going to be the most intriguing, interesting in the history of Philippine football.

Two candidates have declared their candidacy with Ricky Yanson Jr. announcing his candidacy first and current PFF president Nonong Araneta as his running mate.

When Ricky declared his candidacy, I immediately also declared my support for the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) president. He announced his candidacy on September 21 in front of Football Association presidents in Davao City.

Then things were muddled because more than a week after Ricky declared his candidacy, Nonong changed his mind. With two of the powerful persons in Philippine football by his side, Azkals manager Dan Palami and Ceres-Negros Football Club owner Leo Rey Yanson, Nonong announced his candidacy for re-election on October 4 also in Davao.

Why Davao or in Mindanao? Because Mindanao has 17 Football Associations and 13 of them are voters while four are suspended or banned by the PFF for failing to submit or complete their statutes and by laws as required by the PFF.

Nonong’s announcement was a bitter pill for Ricky to swallow and the timing was bad. He could not meet Nonong for a talk as he was abroad at the time.

Nonong’s move is a stab in the back of Ricky. Nonong has not denied that he agreed to support Ricky’s candidacy from the beginning. In fact they are good friends and Ricky in his position in the PFF board of governors has worked tirelessly to help Nonong.

And the truth is that they were together in Dubai the year where they met Asian Football Confideration (AFC) officials and Nonong even introduced Ricky as his successor. Nonong has also told numerous Football Associations that Ricky would succeed him after Nonong would step down this year.

During their last meeting, Ricky asked Nonong’s permission to announce their ticket and Nonong agreed, joking to Ricky to also campaign for him as VP.

To add insult to this betrayal of “usapang lalaki,” Nonong claimed to the FAs during his somersault announcement that he was running again to prevent disunity that may arise from Ricky’s campaign. Nonong even pointed to the recent Vallacar/Ceres ownership fight between the Yanson siblings as a cautionary tale of what could happen to the PFF.

What is funny is that the Yansons' dispute has died down with both sides now awaiting the decision of the courts on the matter. For Nonong to cite this as his reason to run --a negative campaign mind you, as opposed to Ricky’s platform of grassroots development-- is as false as it is petty.

What makes this comical and even insulting to the FAs is that Nonong crowed that Leo Rey, one of the Yansons involved in the squabble, is supporting his re-election bid.

That flies in the face of Nonong’s claim that he is running to insulate the PFF from disunity. It seems to me he is at the forefront of trying to inject the disunity and in-fighting in the PFF.

So how can this be a justification for welshing out on a gentleman’s agreement that would have ensured a smooth transition to a younger and more vibrant administration?

Why then did Nonong somersault and kick the ball back into the PFF’s own goal. Sources within the sport have told me an interesting tale that may be told perhaps in another time.

By the way my friend Mike Limpag of Sunstar Cebu is a Nonong supporter and he calls the Mindanao Cup and the Luzon Cup politicking. He also questions why there is no Visayas Cup.

Well, the original program of Ricky Yanson Jr., the NOFA Cup, was already held at the Sta. Maria field in Talisay, Negros Occidental this year and has been going on since 2015. Is Talisay, Negros Occidental not in the Visayas?

My friend Mike also calls Ricky Yanson Jr.’s grassroots push as politicking. I don’t think so. Ricky started his grassroots program long before he became NOFA president.

(l.biantan@gmail.com)


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