PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr. and general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes expressed optimism following the FIFA Women’s World Cup draw held last Saturday, 22 October 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Filipinas found themselves in Group A alongside co-hosts New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland with matches to be played in Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland in New Zealand.
Speaking during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Araneta and Gastanes shared their thoughts on the draw.
“We never imagined to be in the World Cup but here we are and we are happy with the draw. Now we have to prepare for the team to be successful,” said Araneta. “We are the underdogs in the World Cup but we will use it to our advantage.
“The World Cup is a different arena and all the teams play at their best in this competition,” added Gastanes. “We hope and pray that our team play at their best with the support and prayers of our countrymen on their matches next year.”
With the prospect of playing against the best teams in the world already set, both Araneta and Gastanes stressed the importance of maximizing every international window by conducting friendly matches and training camps.
“The coaching staff will have to plan well, because our group has two European teams and we have to adopt to their styles,” added Araneta. “We have to check if the Filipinas is able to play against some of teams that are in same level of Norway and Switzerland.”
“The motto of all teams is play to win and our team will play to win in the World Cup,” furthered Gastanes, who attended the team’s matches against New Zealand and Costa Rica in the last two windows. “This is a different team from the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, and their fitness level is going up.”
The Filipinas’ World Cup debut begins on 21 July against Switzerland, followed by co-hosts New Zealand on 25 July, and Norway on 30 July.
The Filipinas are supported by team manager Jefferson Cheng, the Philippine Sports Commission and the MVP Sports Foundation.