A few weeks after gifting the country its first international football title, the Philippine Women’s National Team continues its buildup for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 with a training camp in Irvine, California.
The reigning AFF Women’s Championship winners have linked up with Australian coach Alen Stajcic, more than a month after their triumph in the regional competition held in Manila.
Stajcic has 27 players for the camp, including several newcomers who are set to be assessed by the coaching staff.
“We’ve been looking forward to this camp after a memorable and unforgettable AFF campaign,” said Stajcic.
The Filipinas are taking on World Cup co-host New Zealand in another friendly at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium on Sept. 6 (Sept. 7 in Manila). The Football Ferns are positioned at No. 22 in the FIFA rankings.
“The match against New Zealand ranked No. 22 in the world will provide stern competition and build on the experience we have in the team,” said Stajcic.
Stajcic has steered the Filipinas on their spectacular rise, guiding them to a first ever FIFA World Cup qualification in the AFC Asian Cup 2022 India. The Filipinas also captured a bronze in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in May, before notching a historic AFF Women’s Championship title in Manila last July.
“We have five new players set to come in as we look to further strengthen the team and increase depth leading into 2023,” said Stajcic.
Team manager Jefferson Cheng believes the squad is on the right track as the Filipinas work on their cohesion and team play in camp.
“We know there is plenty of work ahead of us if we want to be competitive in the World Cup,” said Cheng.
“Overseas camps and arranging matches are always challenging. But this is something that needs to be done for the team’s improvement. Our journey requires sacrifice from the players and the staff and the cooperation of everyone involved in our organization.”
Meanwhile, Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta commended the Filipinas’ dedication and commitment to the national team, and thanked team manager Jefferson Cheng for his continuing support for the team.
“We are all very excited for next year’s World Cup,” added PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes.