HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – The Philippine U14 Girls National Football Team trounced Singapore with a 6-0 victory on a soggy field in Vietnam on Tuesday, June 10 at the Asian Football Confederation Regional Championship.
Dark clouds rolled in and a hard rain fell as the two teams paraded their national flags onto the field. The situation only got darker for Singapore as play began. The Philippine team – clearly nervous with most of the young players participating in their first international tournament – dissected their opponents on the pitch.
“The score could have been much higher,” said Philippine team head coach Let Dimzon after the game. “We missed many opportunities to score because our girls were moving slow and heavy. They were nervous. Hopefully, they will loosen up by tomorrow.”
Itsuko Bacatan of Cebu City led the scoring with goals in the first and second half. Joyce Semacio of Davao City scored at 10 minutes into the game and Arantxa Mari Trebol of Cebu City at 46 minutes. Francesca Anne Marie Suerte of Ilo-Ilo City scored at 68 minutes. A Singaporean player accidentally knocked the ball into her own goal at 60 minutes.
On Wednesday, the Philippine team plays Vietnam, which won the tournament last year. The Vietnamese team trains together year around and is seen as a front runner to do well this year. The Philippine team, in contrast, is formed about six weeks before the tournament and undergoes a short but intense training camp.
Vietnam narrowly beat second place Thailand last year. Both teams won four out of five of their games and finished with an overall score of 12 points each. Myanmar finished third with 10 points and the Philippines fourth with 7 points. Cambodia and Malaysia placed last with 1 point each.
This year, the competition is broken into two groups. The Philippines is in Group A with reigning champion Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore – which is playing in the tournament for the first time this year. The winner, in terms of overall points, from Group A will take on the winner from Group B, which includes Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia.
The 18 girls on the Philippine national team, all 14 years old and younger, were chosen based on nationwide tryouts. This year’s Philippine team is made up of Stacey Ann Arthur of Metro Manila; Jennifer Baroin of Makati City; Princess Beth Caparida of San Carlos City; Jan Reese Jumawan of Cebu City; Tenelyn Otom of San Carlos City; Lindsay Whaley of Subic Bay; Itsuko Bacatan of Cebu City; Patricia Erika Francisco of Davao City; Chloe Anne Hails of Metro Manila; Francesca Anne Marie Suerte of Ilo-Ilo City; and Annika Velez of Manila; Glynnes Dela Cruz of Metro Manila; Joyce Semacio of Davao City; Arantxa Mari Trebol of Cebu City; Yasmin May Elauria of Olongapo City; Alexandrea Gumilao of Cebu; Tejanee Marie Isulat of San Carlos City; Mikayla Grace Simons of Hong Kong.
The coaching staff includes Assistant Coach Joyce Landagan; Goalkeeper Coach Melissa Chris Marquez; and physiotherapist Katherine Anne Soriano.
The tournament is being held at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The Philippine team plays against Vietnam on June 11 and Cambodia on June 12. The semi-finals and final game will be played on June 14 and 15. – Rappler.com
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