MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s national football team is looking to use the upcoming 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia this May as a world-class springboard just a little over two months before its historic FIFA World Cup campaign.
At the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, January 24, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) general secretary Ed Gastanes stressed that every possible avenue is being explored with the Filipinas team to give the country its best shot at a bemedalled calendar year.
“We have a very real chance right now for our national women’s football team in the Cambodia SEA Games given its preparations, and our committed and competent coaching staff,” he said.
“After the Filipinas captured the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Women’s Championship trophy last year, they are really looking forward to bagging another medal, if not the gold.”
Apart from its historic AFF gold win, the Filipinas also copped an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup bronze, and one of only two SEA Games bronzes in national team history back in Hanoi in 2021.
With the Philippines armed with arguably its strongest women’s football team yet, the PFF is sparing no expense in all its tournaments’ buildups, as Gastanes announced a handful of international tournaments lined up for the year.
These include the Pinatar Cup in Murcia, Spain from February 15 to 21, where the world No. 53 Filipinas will be matched up with European powerhouses Wales (world No. 16), Scotland (world No. 21), and Iceland (world No. 25).
Then on April 3 to 11, the Philippines will face Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong in the first round of the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers, which can give the Filipinas an even bigger arena to showcase their improvement.
After the SEA Games and World Cup, the team is also expected to compete in the postponed Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, before wrapping up the year with its AFF title defense sometime in November. – Rappler.com