The Philippine national women’s football team is now ready to face the challenges that will confront them in the coming days.
National team coach Alen Stajcic said this as the Filipina booters get ready to play its first match in the 2022 Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup this Friday in Mumbai, India.
“We have been working hard for the last couple of months. There were a lot of challenges and we’ve put in a lot of hard work,” said Stajcic during an online pre-match huddle with Filipino scribes.
Thailand will be the Filipina booters’ first opponent on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila) at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi, Mumbai.
Winning the game will be a tall order for the Philippines considering that Thailand is ranked no. 38th in the world.
The Filipinas are at no. 64, a big increase from being world no. 128 last month.
The tourney officially starts Thursday, with 12 countries competing for the continental cup honors. Matches will be played in three stadiums across India.
The competition will also serve as the final stage of Asian qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, but the games were postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 event will see five nations qualify for the World Cup, while the remaining two advance to inter-confederation playoffs.
Australia is the highest-ranked national team in the tournament, while Japan, the 2018 champion, and China, are also after the crown.