By Adrian Stewart Co
The naturalization of Spanish football player Bienvenido Marañón and Ivorian basketball player Angelo Kouame has gained the nod of House of Representatives’ Justice committee.
The two separate measures, which will grant Filipino citizenships to Marañón and Kouame, were passed by the House panel on Thursday afternoon, February 4, and are scheduled to be tackled on Monday, February 8, before the House plenary.
“In my case I will try to do my best… I hope to work with Azkals as a Filipino. I would like my dream to come true,” Marañón answered when asked by House Justice committee chair, Rep. Vicente Veloso III, regarding his desire to become a Filipino and play for the national men’s football team, Philippine Azkals, in the future.
Marañón, who was born in El Puerto, Spain, played for third and fourth-division clubs in his home country before moving to the Philippines as part of Ceres-Negros FC on May 2015. Since then he was instrumental in the club’s ascent as a powerhouse team in the region with 61 goals and 20 assists in 99 appearances.
Marañón was also the top scorer of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in 2019, an annual continental club football competition, organized by the AFC and participated in by 36 teams from all across Asia.
Also getting the nod was the naturalization process of Kouame, who was a member of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and has joined the practices of Gilas Pilipinas.
The objective to naturalize Kouame is to “create a pool of naturalized players” if another player gets injured or if certain problems with players arise, said Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, who authored the Kouame naturalization measure.
“Pagalingan ngayon ng pag-naturalize ng players because in the world now, the definition of a national team is, 11 natural-born players and one naturalized player,” said Puno, who is also the vice chairman of SBP./ASC, WDJ