MANILA, Philippines – For the Philippine women’s football team to enjoy a sustained level of success, head coach Alen Stajcic believes that the program will need to undergo a massive facelift moving forward.
“It has come to a point when I reflect that the pathway in this country will have to come upside down – from the seniors national team [to the juniors] – rather than the traditional grassroots, from this level to the next level, to the seniors national team,” Stajcic said during the Filipinas press conference at the Acacia Hotel in Alabang on Wednesday, January 25.
Stajcic cited Asian neighbor Japan, where the women’s team transformed from virtual nobodies to world champions by 2011 in the Women’s World Cup, as a prime example.
“They have put together a strategy, they stick together. They’re united, they’re aligned, they have a philosophy, they have a drive, a vision. I think we have to start putting those things in place,” he added.
Stajcic, along with new under-20 head coach Nahuel Arrarte, recently conducted an open tryout in the United States, which was attended by 110 hopefuls from countries such as America, Australia, and Canada, among others.
The team is also set to recruit new blood in several tryouts in Manila, Cebu, and Davao soon, he added.
Following a banner year in the program where the Filipinas claimed their first World Cup stint and ruled the AFF Women’s Championship, they are setting to prove that their achievements are not a flash in the pan.
In their immediate sights is the 2023 Pinatar Cup in Murcia, Spain this March, where they will meet higher-ranked European squads Wales, Scotland, and Iceland.
“We try to get that medal for the country… we’ll never stop wanting more. I can speak for the girls that we really want it,” said goalkeeper Inna Palacios.
“Just like what coach Alan said, the climb is a bit harder if you keep climbing a bit higher, we want to achieve as much as we can but we’re very much grounded… we know how hard it is.”