The Philippine women’s football team recently bagged its maiden AFF crown by outlasting Asian powerhouse Thailand, 3-0. (Photo credits: The Lasallian/Zoila Caga)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Amidst steep training and practice games in preparation for their FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance next year, the Philippine women’s football team is set to play home matches earlier than expected as part of its buildup if plans come into fruition for face offs with their counterparts from Jamaica and Uzbekistan.
In an announcement, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta has bared that the Latin American team and Uzbekistani footballers have sent feelers on possibly traveling to the Philippines to compete against the Filipinas in a tri-nation series for the November international window.
According to Araneta, “Jamaica wants to come here in November and Uzbekistan also wants to play here, so maybe (there) can (be) a tri-nation tournament.”
The Jamaicans are currently ranked 51st in the world after placing third recently in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Women’s Championship and earning a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics play-in against Canada.
On the other hand, Uzbekistan is ranked five spots higher at No. 46 than the Latin Americans and ruled the Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) Women’s Championship over a week ago.
There’s an increasing clamor from local football fans for the Filipinas to hold some of their games and how their skills on home soil, especially after their 3-0 victory over a strong Thai team in the final of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Pinays’ coach Alen Stajcic has expressed hope to pit his wards against tougher opponents, which he feels would hone their skills a great deal so that Team Philippines would put up a competitive showing in its maiden World Cup stint.
Two friendly matches against Costa Rica in October have also been finalized and others against an African team and one from New Zealand to be held in Dubai. (ai/mtvn)