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Anton Del Rosario bares Maharlika Manila seeking PFL license

Anton Del Rosario, seen here celebrating after a goal, is leading a new club that could see action in the PFL soon. 7's Football League (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Amid the row concerning Global Makati and the sale of Ceres Negros to a group of investors that eventually renamed the club to United City, a certain Maharlika Manila FC has been sending feelers on social media.

Recently, the club, led by former Azkal Anton Del Rosario, posted the highlights of its online training session on Instagram.

With former top division players Cedric Hodreal and Serge Kaole joining the said workout, the photos further fueled speculations if the squad is gearing up for the upcoming PFL season.

On Thursday, Anton Del Rosario confirmed that Maharlika Manila is indeed looking to join the PFL soon.

"We are in the process of getting our license," Del Rosario said in the online Usapang Sports forum of the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports.

But on whether Maharlika Manila will replace Global Makati, which is now facing the loss of its license as it failed to report to the PFL if the club settled its players' unpaid salaries within the 10-day period it set, this year remains unseen as Del Rosario clarified that his team joining the league for this season is not yet cast in stone.

"We don't want to commit to saying that we are playing in the PFL because there could be things that do get in the way stopping us," added Del Rosario, who is actually among the Global Makati players who have yet to get their salaries and has been active in calling out the club's management about it.

The PFL is supposed to give its member clubs the green light to resume their training this week, but with Carmona, the site of the league's upcoming bubble, placed under modified enhanced community quarantine again, the practices have been called off.

While the league remains firm in holding its season as soon as September, the unforeseen circumstances that could be brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are one factor that leads to Del Rosario keeping his reservations on Maharlika Manila joining this year.

Meanwhile, Del Rosario said that Maharlika Manila is now fixing the documents needed to be submitted to apply for the license and claimed that its roster is now in place, but he once again reiterated that the club may not join this season.

"Until that point in time (when the club gets its license), I don't want to say that we are playing in the PFL just yet," he clarified anew. "Until I get that license in hand, that is the day that I will announce it."

However, Del Rosario added that football fans should expect Maharlika Manila playing very soon.

"You can guarantee that Maharlika FC, whether we're playing in the PFL or maybe in the WFL (Weekend Futbol League) or anywhere else, will be a team out here in the Philippines, and we will be creating something for the people," he further said.

Del Rosario quipped that the full lineup will be released very soon, but right now, he assured, "We do have a very good lineup of players willing to play for the team," further hinting that some former national team players will beef up the lineup.

Del Rosario also confirmed that actor Daniel Matsunaga, who last played top flight football for Kaya Iloilo in the 2014 UFL season, will join Maharlika Manila as one of the club's four foreign recruits.

"He's one of the fan favorites in the 7's Football League, so we looked to bring him on board to the Maharlika FC," added Del Rosario, who founded the said league.

He also said that the club will also have a youth program to develop the next generation talents who will play for the senior team in the future and even the Azkals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_