Four new faces have joined the Philippine women’s national football team in time for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The newbies, namely Filipino-French Katrina Guillou and Fil-Americans Kiara Fontanilla, Dominique Randle and Isabel Flanigan are expected make their presence felt when the Filipina booters plunge into action in the meet to be held from January 20 to February 6 in India.
Guillou, 28, is a midfielder currently playing for Swedish team Piteå IF, while Fontanilla comes from Eastern Oregon University.
Randle is a student-athlete from the University of Southern California, while Flanigan is a junior player from Montverde Academy in Florida.
Australian coach Alen Stajcic also got two junior players in Keanne Alamo and Carleigh Frilles for the senior squad.
Alamo and Frilles already played for Team Philippines in the Under-16 and Under-14 levels in the past.
“I’ve got a lot of hope and a lot of belief that we can actually achieve the goal,” said coach Alen Stajcic, in a statement.
Midfielder Tahnai Annis will be the skipper for this campaign, to be assisted by her co-captain Hali Long.
Inna Palacios is returning to the squad with Sara Castaneda and Cam Rodriguez, Chandler McDaniel, Tara Shelton and Sofia Harrison.
The Filipina booters will be reinforced by Japan WE.League veterans Quinley Quezada of Chiba and Sarina Bolden of Saitama.
The squad also welcomes back Eva Madadarang of Roma, along with Ryley Bugay, Morgan Brown, Malea Cesar, Jessica Miclat, Anicka Castaneda and Olivia McDaniel.
“The players are all aligned and driven to succeed as one and that’s what we have to do to give ourselves every possible chance of getting one of those spots for the World Cup,” added Stajcic.
The Filipinas will first meet Thailand on January 21, Australia on January 24 and Indonesia on the 27th.
The first two matches will be in Mumbai, while the third one will be in Pune.
The nationals have been playing two friendlies every week to get in shape as they seek to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Stajcic said the Filipina booters are continuously preparing for their coming games in Group B.
The Philippines is in the same group with former Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup champion Australia and Southeast Asian countries Thailand and Indonesia.
Host India is with China, Chinese Taipei, and Iran in Group A, while Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Myanmar are in Group C.