Filipinas confident of advancing in Olympic qualifiers

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Filipinas confident of advancing in Olympic qualifiers
The Philippine women's national football team training in Tajikistan

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women's national football team is optimistic ahead of its bid in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tajikistan.

Set to clash with Pakistan to start things off Wednesday evening, Australian coach Alen Stajcic expressed belief in his wards to move on to the next round.

"The Olympics is a massive event and we’ve never been to the final group stage ever before so trying to top this group and getting out of this group is a difficult assignment," he said.

"We’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re confident we can get to the next round."

The Fililpinas are facing lower-ranked teams in the first round of the OQT. Their opening foes Pakistan are 161st in the FIFA World Rankings.

Hosts Tajikistan, whom they face on Saturday, are 144th. They then face 79th-ranked Hong Kong on Tuesday, April 11.

Despite their rankings, Stajcic is wary of their skills, especially as they do not have enough material to scout their foes enough before action kicks off.

"Pakistan has just resumed playing recently and obviously they are emerging and developing and an unknown threat. We don’t know how good they are. There’s always a little bit of anxiety because you don’t know what you’re going to get," said Stajcic.

"Tajikistan is in a similar boat (like Pakistan). They’re both unknowns in international football, but are starting to really emerge and develop as national teams. We’ve got to respect those countries because we don’t know what kind of game we’ll have until we actually get in there. In that respect, this makes it a difficult challenge," he added.

The Filipinas will also be keen on being careful against Hong Kong, whom they had to win over in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Tournament in Uzbekistan, 2-1.

"It was only 18 months ago that we scraped to a 2-1 win to qualify for the Asian Cup, we have to treat them with a lot of respect," said Stajcic.

"That’s going to be a tough battle, it could have easily been Hong Kong making it to the Asian Cup so we know that it was going to be a tricky assignment," he added.

The Filipinas open their bid in Tajikistan at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m., Manila time) at the Hisor Central Stadium.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with