HANGZHOU—The national women’s football team opens its 19th Asian Games campaign against Hongkong on Friday hoping to nail a win that could virtually send the World Cup veterans Filipinas to the knockout stage.
“There are only 16 teams [countries] participating,” Philippine Football Federation president Atty. Edwin Gastanes told BusinessMirror on Thursday. “After that, it’s the knockout stage among eight teams.”
Gastanes oozed with confidence on the medal hopes of the Filipinas, who’re fueled by the minimum incentive they got from FIFA for playing in the World Cup—each of them got $30,000 in bonus from football’s world governing body.
“You need only at last one team and a draw to advance to the next round,” Gastanes added.
Fifteen of the Filipinas—they play Hongkong at 4 p.m. Friday Wenzhou Sports Centre Stadium—who are competing here are veterans of the World Cup.
Co-captain Hali Long, Sarina Bolden and Sara Eggesvik are on the team, making Gastanes, a top candidate to replace Mariano “Nonong” Araneta as the next PFF president, even more confident that the Philippines could hurdle Myanmar and even powerhouse South Korea in Group E.
“They are fully motivated,” he said.
The Filipinas are coming off a 4-1 win over the Hong Kong side last April. They are currently ranked No. 44 in the FIFA rankings, enough to strike fear in the hearts of their rivals.