MANILA, Philippines -- Bienvenido Marañón will certainly make an impact for the Philippine Azkals once he joins the national team after gaining Filipino citizenship.
This, according to team manager Dan Palami who noted that the 34-year-old Marañón can provide a presence upfront that the Azkals currently need.
"He has qualities that we lack right now, especially in terms of the firepower in front," Palami told ABS-CBN News. "I think he can help us."
The Spanish-born Marañón is on the verge of naturalization, after the Philippine Senate unanimously approved House Bill 8631 on March 15. The measure, which seeks to grant Filipino citizenship to the footballer, is now awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Once passed into law, Marañón can realize his dream of playing for the Philippine Azkals, just in time for their campaign in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian qualifiers this June.
"It will now depend on him and the coaches, working together, on how best to position him, para ma-maximize, so that we can maximize his entry into the team if ever," Palami said of Marañón.
Like Palami, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta is also looking forward to seeing what Marañón can do with the Azkals.
"He's one of the best strikers in club competition," Araneta pointed out.
Marañón plays club football for United City FC, helping them win the Philippines Football League (PFL) title for four seasons in a row. In 2020, he won the Golden Boot with seven goals in five games.
Marañón also holds the record for most goals in the AFC Cup, having registered 35 goals in the competition while playing for United City.
"It really depends on the coaching staff, on how to utilize his talents. But he has the talent, no doubt about it," said Araneta. "He has the talents to make it to the national team and to make a name for himself in Asia."