Originally published by Panay News Online
MANILA – Bienvenido Marañon had a rousing debut as a naturalized player for the national men’s football team in the just-concluded ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2020.
The United City Football Club striker was among the recipients of the AFF Suzuki Cup’s Top Scorer Award after converting four goals in Azkals’ three group matches in the competition.
“Happy to be the Top Scorer of @affsuzukicup with The Philippine Azkals in my first tournament with them,” the Spanish striker wrote on his Facebook page. “Thanks to my teammates and staff for the help to make this happen.”
Marañon had his maiden goal for the Azkals during their 7-0 victory over Timor Leste. He then completed his first hat trick as a naturalized player for the country in their 3-2 win over Myanmar.
Marañon said in a previous interview that he was thankful with the opportunity to play for the Azkals even if it means him being away from his family during the Christmas season.
“I feel so happy to be here. Also, my family is very happy that I stay here. You know, Christmas is every year. Playing with the Azkals is not every year,” the Cadiz-native said.
He added: “Everybody has to know that in football, to play with the Azkals, it doesn’t matter the day that you come here. You have to come and you have to enjoy.”
Apart from Marañon, other recipients of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 Top Scorer Award were Chanathip Songkrasin and Teerasil Dangda of champion Thailand and Safawi Rasid of Malaysia.
This was the second time that the national men’s football team received an award in the biennial regional football tournament deemed the biggest in Southeast Asia.
In the 2010 edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup hosted by Indonesia and Vietnam, the Philippine Azkals were given the Fair Play award after reaching the semifinals round of the competition for the first time./PN