Azkals’ Bienvenido Maranon: On a mission to do something great
MANILA, Philippines – The 2021 Suzuki Cup will feature many new faces for the Philippine men’s football team.
Scott Cooper, for one, will be coaching the nationals for the first time in the biennial regional tournament. And of course, there are those coming up from the Azkals Development Team such as Mar Vincent Diano, Yrick Gallantes and Matthew Custodio to name a few.
And there’s 35-year old Bienvenido Maranon, who caught everyone’s attention when he first suited up for Ceres in the old United Football League.
His exploits on the pitch made Maranon a candidate for naturalization and only last July, Bienve, as the popular Spanish player is nicknamed, became a Filipino citizen.
Bienve isn’t the first Spaniard to play for the Azkals. Angel and Juani Guirado and Carli de Murga have donned the national colors although they have direct Filipino ancestry.
“I would watch the Azkals during the previous Suzuki Cups and of course since I am playing here in the Philippines, I cheer for them,” related the midfielder, who can also play up front where he will partner with tournament veterans Angel Guirado and Patrick Reichelt.
“Now, I am here playing for the Philippines,” he gushed. “It’s a dream come true. If I can help make football an even more popular sport in this country, I will be happy.”
In Singapore right now to lead the Azkals’ charge, Maranon cannot wait to get going.
“I will give 200% playing for the country,” promised the newly minted Azkal. “I cannot wait to start the training and the games. I will fight in every single training to be the best. I know many players but most I didn’t play with so I will adjust. We will do something great.”
Like the rest of his teammates, Maranon hopes the Azkals will go deep into the tournament — qualify for the semifinals and hopefully, go farther. Even if it means spending the Holiday Season abroad.
“There is Christmas every year. Playing with Azkals is not every year. We would like to be here until January 1 (2022). That means we did something great.”
The Azkals’ matches as well as the rest of the Suzuki Cup will be shown on the Premier Football channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as the Tap Go application.
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