Australian coach Alen Stajcic, who guided the Philippine Women’s National Team to a historic qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup last month, has signed a new contract that will keep him and his staff with the PWNT until the 2023 Women’s World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
PWNT team manager Jefferson Cheng made the announcement Friday after Stajcic, 48, agreed to an extension in a meeting in Sydney last March 1.
Assistant coach Nahuel Arrarte and strength and conditioning coach Luca Tonetti will also remain with the team, Cheng said.
With Stajcic at the helm, the Filipinas reached the semifinals of the AFC Womens Asian Cup in India for the first time after beating Chinese Taipei on penalties. The Filipinas, who lost to Korea Republic in the semifinals, finished joint third with Japan in the tournament won by China.
“The next 18 months will be challenging for all of us at the PWNT as we do our best to prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Cheng. “We are all motivated, hopeful and looking forward to giving our best for the nation.”
Cheng thanked Stajcic “for continuing on this journey with the PWNT.”
Stajcic described his first stint with the PWNT as one of the best experiences of his career.
“I’m delighted to continue our journey with the Phillippine Women’s National Team through to the World Cup,” said Stajcic. “The Asian Cup performances were remarkable and phenomenal, but to share it with a group of staff and players that exemplified humility, gratitude and passion for the (Philippines) shirt is what really made it special. I’m extremely excited to help lead the team in the next chapter as we head for the pinnacle of our sport.”
Stajcic’s next task is to lead the Filipinas in the Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May. The Filipinas will also see action in the AFF Women’s Championships in Manila in July before vying in the Asian Games in China in September.
PFF president Mariano Araneta and PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes are pleased to have Stajcic on board as the Filipinas prepare for the FWWC next year.
“The PFF is honored to continue working with a truly world class coach in Alen Stajcic whose professionalism and attention to detail have been instrumental in raising the level of the PWNT,” said Araneta. “The team’s performances in India showed that he is the best coach to also lead us in our first FIFA Womens World Cup appearance.”
“Coach Alen Stajcic showed that the Philippines can be a top-caliber team in the women’s game,” said Gastanes. “We are very delighted that he has committed to the team as it prepares for several women’s competitions this year in the build up to the World Cup.”