Football: AFF tourney another opportunity for Filipinas to grow, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2022 03:47 PM

The Philippine women's national football team ahead of their bronze medal match against Myanmar in the 31st SEA Games. File photo. PWNT/Raymond Braganza.
The Philippine women's national football team ahead of their bronze medal match against Myanmar in the 31st SEA Games. File photo. PWNT/Raymond Braganza.

MANILA, Philippines -- Local fans will finally get to see the World Cup-bound Philippine women's national football team in action in July, when they compete in the AFF Women's Championship 2022.

The Philippines will be hosting the event for the first time, with matches to be played at the Biñan Football Stadium in Biñan City and Imus City Grandstand in Imus, Cavite. The tournament will run on July 4-17.

A record 11 teams will take part, including reigning Southeast Asian Games champions Vietnam, another team that is also headed to the FIFA Women's World Cup next year. SEA Games silver medalists Thailand as well as World Cup hosts Australia will compete as well.

"We're looking forward to playing in front of our home fans and against the best teams in South-East Asia," said PWNFT coach Alen Stajcic after Saturday's draw.

This marks the first time that home fans can see the Filipinas play in person since they secured a berth to next year's World Cup at the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 in January. The PWNFT is also coming off a bronze medal finish in the SEA Games, their first time to reach the podium in nearly 40 years.

Expectations are thus high for the Filipinas but they found themselves in a tough group that includes Thailand and Australia, both higher-ranked squads.

Stajcic however sees this as a chance for his squad to improve further as they continue to prepare for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup.

"[This is] another great opportunity for this team to be tested so that we can learn, grow and improve," he said.

Joining the Philippines, Thailand and Australia in Group A are: Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.

In Group B are Vietnam, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Laos.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout semifinals. 

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