Playing on home soil meant so much for Sarina Bolden.
On a rainy Monday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, the 29-year-old Fil-American from Sta. Clara, California found a chance to score for Philippine National Women’s Football Team. “Last time I scored was in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games. And we got third place. Now, it’s very special, with the match held here,” said Bolden right after the Filipinas shocked the Australian Under-23 squad, 1-0.
This allowed the Philippines to start its campaign in the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship on a bright note.
What made it even more meaningful to Bolden and his teammates was the turnout of fans, who showed up, numbering 1,400 or more.
And they cheered so loud that the players were energized all evening, even though light rain came and drenched them from time to time.
“With the World Cup coming, we want to go as far as we can,” added Bolden, who scored the game’s lone goal off a header in the 60th minute.
“The fans were so loud. The noise that came through after the final whistle was amazing,” said Philippines’ head coach Alen Stajcic on the jubilant crowd support that the Filipinas got.
Stajcic is hopeful, though, that more fans will come in their next four games.
“We got four games left in the group, then semis and finals and if we make it that far, this team really deserves a sellout,” added Stajcic.
The Philippines will next clash with Singapore on Wednesday at 7 p.m., while Australia U23 goes up against Thailand at the same time at the Imus City Grandstand in Cavite.