Malditas join ‘Group of Death’ in 27th SEAG
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2013 - 5:11pm

MANILA, Philippines – The road to the gold medal in the 27th Southeast Asian Games women's football got tougher for the Philippine team Malditas as they were drawn in what observers consider as the "Group of Death."

During Wednesday's official draw in Naypyitaw, the 75th-ranked Malditas found themselves bunched with defending champion Vietnam, host Myanmar and Indonesia in Group A.

Vietnam stands at 28th in the latest women's world rankings. The Vietnamese have finished six times in the group stages of the AFC Women's Asian Cup and won the AFF crown twice (2006, 2012). They ruled the SEAG four times, including the last women's tourney in 2009.

Ranked 43rd in the world, Myanmar has won the AFF diadem twice and reached the Asian Cup's group stages thrice.

Not as fancied as the two is Indonesia, which is ranked 120th.

Four-time SEAG winners Thailand (No. 30 in the world) banners Group B with Laos, Malaysia, and Timor Leste.

Malditas coach Ernie Nierras see the grouping more as a challenge.

"We have a chance to beat 3 top 40 teams in FIFA, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar! I would not want it any other way!" he said.

Nierras is planning to form the strongest ever team for the SEAG campaign, getting the core of the side that upset Iran (6-0) in the AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifiers last summer.

The Malditas are carrying the fight for the sport as the under-23 Azkals and the futsal teams failed to pass the qualifying criteria of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

"This is our way of showing support for Phl football altogether. We have to do our part and this is the opportunity for women's football to do its part," said Nierras.

ASIAN CUP DURING WEDNESDAY ERNIE NIERRAS GROUP A GROUP B GROUP OF DEATH MALDITAS MYANMAR AND INDONESIA NIERRAS PHILIPPINE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SOUTHEAST ASIAN GAMES
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