Cheng steps down as PHL women’s football manager

Former Filipinas team manager Jeff Cheng. (PFF handout)

Jeff Cheng, who has been instrumental in the rise of the Philippine women’s national football team (PWNT), announced his resignation as team manager on Sunday, citing irreconcilable differences with the new management of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).

“For several months, we tried our best to make things work, under new and very different circumstances,” Cheng stated. “Unfortunately, the situation is not workable.”

Cheng highlighted the misalignment in priorities and goals with the current methods of the PWNT organization as the primary reason for his departure, without providing further specifics.

The leadership shift within the PFF saw John Anthony Gutierrez take over from longtime president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta in November 2023. The change appears to have played a role in Cheng’s decision to step down.

During Cheng’s tenure, the PWNT achieved significant milestones, including a historic victory over co-host New Zealand at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a bronze medal at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games, and their first-ever trophy at the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship held in the Philippines.

“I want to thank all of you for the support and kindness that you have shown me. It is through you that our efforts have not gone unnoticed, and I am grateful to have shared some of the best football experiences with all of you,” Cheng expressed in his statement.

The PFF, in its response, expressed gratitude for Cheng’s contributions, acknowledging his pivotal role in the team’s successes.

“Under Mr. Cheng’s leadership and backing of the PWNT, the Philippines achieved the elusive World Cup dream when the Filipinas made it to the 2024 FIFA Women’s World Cup. For this and Mr. Cheng’s other efforts to promote the beautiful game and uphold the welfare of the Filipino stakeholders in the country, the PFF is grateful,” the PFF statement read.

The federation also assured that its doors remain open to Cheng and all football supporters moving forward.

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