Football: PH women's team off to India for Women's Asian Cup

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2022 04:39 PM

The Philippine national women's football team has wrapped up its camp in Irvine, California and is now headed to India for the AFC Women's Asian Cup.

The team trained in California since early November to prepare for their campaign in the continental showcase, where five slots to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 are at stake.

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) on Thursday posted a photo of the squad ahead of their departure.

"We wish the team a safe journey to Mumbai," the federation said.

The Filipinas are making a second straight appearance in the Women's Asian Cup. In the 2018 edition of the event, they lost to South Korea in the fifth-place match, 5-0, missing out on a berth to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Japan are the defending champions in the tournament, having beaten Australia 1-nil in the final. 

"I've got a lot of hope and a lot of belief that we can actually achieve the goal," new head coach Alen Stajcic said. "The players are all aligned and driven to succeed as one and that's what we have to do to give ourselves every possible chance of getting one of those spots for the World Cup."

The PFF called up 23 players into the squad, with veteran midfield Tahnai Annis serving as the skipper. Forward Chandler McDaniel, who shone in the Asian Cup qualifiers last September, returns along with midfielders Jessica Miclat, Sara Castañeda, and Camille Rodriguez; defenders Tara Shelton and Sofia Harrison; and goal-keeper Inna Palacios.

Back in the squad after missing the qualifiers are League players Sarina Bolden (Chifure AS Elfen) and Quinley Quezada (JEF United Chiba Ladies), along with midfielder Eva Madarang.

Set to make her debut is Filipina-French defender Katrina Guillou, who plays for Swedish side Piteå IF. Also set for their Philippines debuts are Dominique Randle, Isabella Flanigan, Kiara Fontanilla, and former youth players Keanne Alamo and Carleigh Frilles.

The Filipinas open their campaign against Thailand on January 21 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai, before playing Australia on January 24 at the Mumbai Football Arena. They wrap up the group stage against Indonesia on January 27 at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.

The top two teams in each group along with the two best third-placed squads qualify to the knockout stages.