Following their 6-0-debut win against Singapore, the Philippines’ U14 Girls Team upset defending Champion Vietnam 1-0 during their 2nd match in the 2014 AFC U-14 Girls Regional Championship at the Thong Nhat Stadium on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.
“Kudos to PHI U14 Girls for the win against Vietnam. I saw the players in training and even then observed how motivated they are to play for the flag. I wish the team good luck in the remaining games,” said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes.
With only 5 weeks to prepare as a team, the youngest Filipina squad to represent the country is showing its strength as a formidable contender despite entering the tournament as underdogs.
A proud Coach Marnelli “Let” Salvador Dimzon couldn’t help but be emotional with the achievement of the girls when asked about the victory. “ I feel so happy teary and proud of my girls. From start to finish they played with high intensity both in attacking and defending. We dominated the whole first half. The plan was successful and the girls were able to do the individual tasks I gave them. Our team overpowered Vietnam tactically and we were able to execute all the plays including the balance of attack from one side to another. The right motivation that we shared to them helped push them to get this game,” said Coach Dimzon.
The lone goal that was scored by Lindsay of Olongapo City on the 28th minute served as the deciding factor in the match. “It felt really great, having it as my first goal, and against Vietnam. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” she shared Lindsay who hails from Olongapo City.
Midfielder Joyce Semcio, defender Tenelyn Otom, and forward Anika Velez were also commended by their Coach for playing very well and helping stop the attacks of Vietnam from the midfield.
“All of them played all-out and they were all focused. If the girls will play with the same intensity as they did against Vietnam, there is a big chance for us in the finals,” Coach Dimzon added.
The Philippines will face Cambodia while Vietnam will play against Singapore on Thursday, June 12, 2014. The results of these matches will determine which team will advance to the finals. The Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam are competing for the top two spots although Cambodia is handicapped with a 0-8 loss against Vietnam.
The U14-Girls’ victory against top-tiered Vietnam is yet another historic feat similar to the Azkals’ win against their National Men’s Team in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Former Philippine Football Federation President and National Player Johnny Romualdez, who also serves as PFF’s Treasurer, was in high spirits upon hearing of the victory. “In my 73 years, I have never seen or heard of any of our age
group teams beat Vietnam, boys or girls, at the National Level. I think our Grassroots Programs, the Azkals and the UFL are causing a lot more kids to take up the Game. The PFF’s efforts at expanding and developing more coaches plus UFL players doubling up as youth coaches are going to see the quality of youth teams improve in the years to come,” he said in an email.