Football community mourns passing of Ahorro

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    THE local football community yesterday mourned the passing of Ma. Cristina “Nina” Ahorro, a well-loved and longtime staff member of the Philippine Football Federation, who suffered a fatal heart attack last Tuesday. She was 64.

    Ahorro, who served the local football body since the term of the late PFF president Rene Adad in the mid-90s, was in charge of the PFF’s development programs, including the Asian Football Confederation Financial Assistance Program at the time of her death.

    “She (Ahorro) was my troubleshooter,” noted PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. “Whenever we had a problem with some of our coaches I could trust Nina to handle it.

    “Philippine football lost an esteemed friend in Nina Ahorro. Words cannot describe the feeling of losing a respected colleague and stakeholder. We will miss her dearly.”

    PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes echoed Araneta’s sentiments, saying: “Nina will always be remembered for her kindness, particularly to the youth and women’s national teams that she supervised through the years.”

    Gastanes recalled the PFF staffer’s golden heart and willingness to go the extra mile, noting that “Nina would often stay overnight to complete the requirement of youth teams whenever they travelled abroad. She was like a mother who looked after her children.

    “She would often ask me if some of the players could stay overnight at the PFF office before they would be sent back home to their respective provinces after an overseas competition, and, of course, I agreed.”

    Former national team standout and current national women’s age group coach Marielle Benitez-Javellana fondly remembered Ahorro in her early days as a youth coach.

    “She (Ahorro) was sweet and very thoughtful, like a mother looking after her children among the national youth coaches,” Benitez-Javellana said.

    “I will miss Ma’am Nina dearly because she was like a mother always on the lookout for us,” said Philippine Azkals coordinator Patrick Ace Bright. “I often visited her at her office and she would offer me food or whatever was available whenever I was around.”

    Araneta said the PFF would look after the interment and burial expenses of the longtime PFF staff member.