MANILA — Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri sought for the naturalization of two prolific foreign football players who are currently starring for reigning Philippines Football League champion Ceres Negros.
Zubiri recently filed Senate Bills 1390 and 1391 to grant Filipino citizenships to Robert Lopez Mendy and Bienve Marañon.
Mendy, a Senegalese, and Marañon, a Spanish, have been in the country for at least five years and never played for their respective native countries’ national teams, satisfying the FIFA rules on players who are seeking naturalization.
What makes Mendy’s case more special is the fact that he is married to Filipina Maebel Lacastesantos.
Zubiri, in an explanatory note for the Mendy naturalization bill, added that he “desires to play an integral part in developing football in the country and helping mold the youth to become competitive and at the same time teach them to uphold the ideals of sportsmanship and fair play.”
In the case of Marañon, Zubiri said that he “dreams of building a family in this country, and raising his children surrounded by the kindness, humility, and hospitality that Filipinos are known for.”
Once granted Filipino citizenships, the strikers, both aged 33, could become eligible to play for the Azkals in international competitions. (PNA)