MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is not sparing any expense as the women’s football team prepares for its historic FIFA World Cup campaign from July 20 to August 20, 2023.
The national sports agency announced at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that a series of friendly matches for the Filipinas are already being lined up on local and international soil following their monumental qualification to the quadrennial showpiece last January.
“We’re looking for match fitness, so the more matches for them, the better,” said PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta. “We never imagined to be in the World Cup. But here we are. So we just have to prepare the team well.”
The PFF said that a whopping $2 million to $3 million (P117 million to 176 million) will be allotted for the women’s team’s preparations, and the campaign is already underway after the Filipinas recently concluded two friendlies in Costa Rica.
The federation is looking to hold at least 10 matches, including two with an experienced South American country by November.
“We cannot inform you the name of the country yet because we have stipulated that we will announce it jointly, but it’s a South American country. It has been in the World Cup, and it’s been to the Tokyo Olympics,” said PFF secretary-general Ed Gastanes.
The Filipinas have been pooled together with Norway, Switzerland, and Austalia’s co-host New Zealand in Group A last Saturday, October 22.
Now that the first set of opponents have been revealed, Mariano believes that the Philippines has a “fighting chance” in the world’s top football tournament.
“We’re happy with the draw. We’ll move forward from this to see what else we can prepare on,” said the PFF chief. “A win in the World Cup is something, and that’s what we want the team to have, a winning attitude.”
“If we survive the Round of 32, then we move to the Round of 16, and that itself is an excellent achievement for a first-timer in the World Cup,” Gastanes added. – Rappler.com