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Kaya Iloilo founder Rudy Del Rosario passes away

Rudy Del Rosario co-founded Kaya Iloilo, which emerged as one of modern Philippine club football's top squads. Kaya FC-Iloilo (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A pillar in modern day football passed away.

PFL powerhouse Kaya Iloilo confirmed on Friday that Rudy Del Rosario, one of its co-founders, died at the age of 51.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Rudy Del Rosario's passing today," the club said in a statement.

Del Rosario was a member of the Philippine national football team during the 90's.

He was actually part of the national team that stunned Malaysia in the 1991 Southeast Asian Games held here.

The striker would help establish Kaya Iloilo in 1996 along with Bob Kovacs and John Rey Bela-Ong.

Del Rosario would witness the rise of the club from his humble beginnings to becoming a former three-time top division champion in the old UFL and now being one of the Philippines' representatives to next year's AFC Champions League.

"Rudy was not only one of the founders and pillars of Kaya FC, he was a staunch advocate for football across the Philippines," the club continued.

The PFL, which took over the UFL as the country's first division football league, had this to say about Del Rosario: "Rudy Del Rosario is one of the legends of the game in the country."

On the other hand, Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta, who still got to play with Del Rosario at the latter part of his national team career, saw him as someone "who not only made an impact with his play on the pitch but with his tremendous passion for the game that reflected in his work even after his playing career."

Del Rosario became more prominent as the coach of the Philippine team to the 2011 Homeless World Cup.

"Rudy used football as a platform to help uplift the lives of many young players with his different coaching roles especially with the Homeless World Cup team," Araneta further said.

He concluded, "The wonderful tributes are proof of Rudy’s amazing impact in the Philippine football community. He will be missed."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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