Philippine women's football gets big boost with new association

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Philippine women's football gets big boost with new association
The Philippine women's national football team
Philstar.com / Luisa Morales

MANILA, Philippines — The growth and development of women's football in the Philippines just got a shot in the arm with the Philippine Women's Football Association (PWFA).

Formally launched Saturday, July 24, the PWFA is a non-profit organization that "aims to increase women in football" across the country by providing education, support, opportunity, information and mentoring in the various aspects of women's football.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano "Nonong" Araneta welcomed the latest development in the rapidly improving community of women's football in the country.

"This is, indeed, a landmark event and helps pave the way for more opportunities for women to play an even vital role in the development of the Beautiful Game in the Philippines," said Araneta.

"It is certainly a huge step and aligns ideally with the efforts of the Philippine Football Federation and FIFA, which has put emphasis on women's football and women empowerment," he added.

The PWFA is set to apply for membership in the PFF congress, and is aiming to work in collaboration with the already established Women's Department in the PFF.

Education at the forefront

The PWFA has already laid out some of its plans as it looks to build on the promising women's football program locally.

At the forefront of the association's goals are raising awareness and helping those already part of the community in reaching greater heights.

The association plans to hold webinars, workshops, and mentoring for its players to help sustain the playing level -- especially since there is not yet a professional league for women's football in the country, leaving most players out of pathways after college.

As for those just starting out, growth campaigns and events like open plays, festivals, tournaments, and the like will help cultivate a community around the sport in the country.

"To continuously grow and learn in football [is our goal]," said former national team player Natasha Alquiros.

"Education really does play such an integral part in forming this association," she added.

It is of note that not only players will benefit from the programs, as the association is also keen on providing ways to develop for its other non-playing members like coaches, match officials, and the like.

Growing the game

The PWFA is expected to have a diverse set of members with representatives coming from all aspects of the sport -- players, coaches, team administrators, match officials, media, and medical and fitness personnel.

Forming such a comprehensive representation of the community in all its nooks and crannies, is expected to be able to produce projects and policy decisions that all point to the same direction -- pushing the sport to greater heights.

"We have the players' committee where these young girls can actually be mentored by their role models. They can be able to chat with the women's national team, our players, they get to know about the program. Then the Coaches committee is also there," said national team youth coach Marielle Benitez Javellana.

"If we're able to increase the level of coaching in the Philippines, then that will definitely affect the youth, the teams that they are handling... We will be able to increase the quality of our youth programs," she added.

At the national team level, skipper Inna Palacios also believes that what the association can do will be no joke.

She said the body will provide another platform for their voices apart from the PFF.

"I think it's going to be very beneficial... To know that from today, it's not just PFF who will be helping us to achieve our goals, but also the PWFA," said Palacios.

"Once we get this association going and get those program that we planned running, I think this will become big and will really help a lot of people," she added.

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