WITH a sustained intensive training, extensive international play and track record, the national women’s football team has a good chance of winning the gold medal in the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games in May, according to Philippine Football Federation general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes.
“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,” Gastanes told the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Philippine Sports Commission conference room at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday.
“After the Filipinas captured the AFF [Asean Football Confederation] Women’s Championship trophy last year, they are really looking forward to bagging another medal, if not the gold,” Gastanes added.
After qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup by reaching the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup in India January of last year, the charges of Australian coach Alen Stajcic attained another milestone by ruling the AFF Women’s Championship in front of a banner hometown crowd at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last summer.
Their victorious campaign included an empathic 4-0 win over vaunted Vietnam in the semifinals.
“There are actually two national women’s teams preparing for the SEA Games, one is Vietnam and the other is the Philippines,” noted Gastanes in the session supported by San Miguel Corp., Milo, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“The SEA Games women’s finals will be another historic event for us,” added Gastanes, who is anticipating a championship showdown between the World Cup-bound Filipinas and the two-time reigning SEA Games queens Vietnam.
Gunning for the gold would be another step up for the Filipinas, who copped a bronze medal in the 31st SEA Games of in Hanoi last May.
The nationals, Gastanes said, are up for a busy schedule this year starting with the four-nation Pinatar Cup in Murcia, Spain, from February 15 to 21. They will be up against Wales, Scotland and Iceland.
Gastanes said the three European squads are all ranked higher than the 53rd-ranked Philippines—Wales at No. 16, Scotland at No. 21 and Iceland at No. 25.
The Filipinas then plunge into action from April 3 to 11 in the first round of the Olympic women’s qualifiers for Paris 2024 against Pakistan, Tajikistan and Hong Kong in Group E at a still to be announced venue.
The second round of the Asian Olympic qualifiers is set in October.
Gastanes said that the Cambodia SEAG serves as a major tuneup tournament for the FIFA Women’s World Cup slated July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
The Filipinas are bracketed in Group A in the World Cup with the New Zealand Ferns, Norway and Switzerland.
They are also expected to see action in the Hangzhou 19th Asian Games set September 23 to October 8 and will defend their AFF trophy at home in November.