The Philippine women’s football team will finally take the first step in its World Cup dream on Saturday, September 18, against Nepal in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Philippines, ranked No. 68 in the world, is aiming for a 10th Asian Cup appearance, which will pave the way for a chance to see action in the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia.
But first, the country has to top Group F of the Asian Cup qualifiers over Nepal (world No. 101) and Hong Kong (world No. 76).
For team captain and goalkeeper Inna Palacios, she expects the team to be more dynamic than ever despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions faced by Philippine sports teams.
“It’s dynamic. [We’re] learning how to hold the ball, create plays for everyone, we’re evolving to what football is right now – a faster, more intelligent game. We’ll follow the game plan,” said Palacios, who has seen action in the 2018 continental tournament.
“We’ll play our best and we’re very much motivated by the campaign that we have ‘#RememberTheGoal’ at all times.”
The squad headed by coach Marlon Maro started their preparations last April via Zoom trainings, and flew to California for a training camp in July.
Maro also felt that this was the best lineup they could assemble given the COVID-19 restrictions.
“The products of the age group programs are here. Combinations of seniors and young players, tall players from the goalkeepers, midfield and strikers, I think that’s one of our strengths and the strength of the team,” said Maro, who was officially tapped as head coach in July.
In the 2018 Asian Cup, the Philippines missed the fifth and last spot for a Women’s World Cup berth when it lost to South Korea, 5-0.
The last major tournament the team participated in was the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where the country narrowly missed a podium finish and finished fourth after losing to Myanmar, 2-0, in the bronze medal match.
- Inna Palacios (captain)
- Oliva Davies McDaniel
- Isabelle Mapaneo
- Ryley Bugay
- Sofia Harrison
- Chelo Hodges
- Hali Long (co-captain)
- Tara Shelton
- Patricia Tomanon
- Annis Tahnai
- Sara Castañeda
- Anicka Castañeda
- Malea Cesar
- Charisa Lemoran
- Rocelle Medaño
- Jessical Miclat
- Camille Rodriguez
- Alyssa Ube
- Camille Wilson
- Alisha del Campo
- Arianna Lepage
- Chandler McDaniel
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