Originally published by tribune.net.ph
The Philippine Azkals are tipped to have their first naturalized player after the House Committee on Justice approved the measure granting citizenship on Bienvenido Marañon.
Authored by Manila Rep. Manny Lopez, House Bill 7427 successfully hurdled the committee level and will now be brought up for the second and third readings before being elevated to the bicameral conference committee.
The Spanish striker, who bannered United City FC in the recent Philippine Football League, expressed elation, saying that suiting up for the national men’s football team has always been his dream.
“I’m so happy that the process keeps going well and I hope we can do it,” Marañon said.
“I’m very excited to be able to join and help the Azkals in the future. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was born and started playing international football.”
The 34-year-old winger is such a great find for the Azkals.
He started competing in the Philippines back in 2015 when he played as reinforcement for Ceres Negros in the PFL, leading it to a couple of appearances in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League.
In the recent PFL wars, Marañon starred, delivering seven goals in five games to clinch the Golden Boot award.
With him on board, the Azkals would be a force to be reckoned with as he joins international campaigner Neil Etheridge, Stephan Schrock and Patrick Reichelt in the roster.
“The Philippines gave me the opportunity to play in this league and I enjoy being in the country for a long time. I would like to be here where I feel that I’m one of them,” said Marañon, who attended the virtual session of the Lower House to express his eagerness to become a Filipino.
“I’m very happy and can’t wait to get naturalized. I would like to play for the Azkals and, at the same time, help kids by creating an academy that will give them a chance to have a better future in football.”