Football: Hat-trick hero Bolden can be world-class, says Stajcic

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2022 03:49 PM

Filipina striker Sarina Bolden grabbed a hat-trick in their 4-1 win against Indonesia in the 2022 AFF Women's Championship. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Filipina striker Sarina Bolden grabbed a hat-trick in their 4-1 win against Indonesia in the 2022 AFF Women's Championship. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- Sarina Bolden has been superb for the Philippines in the 2022 AFF Women's Championship, with five goals in three appearances including a hat-trick against Indonesia on Sunday night.

The 26-year-old striker is in great form, netting the Filipinas' first goal of the tournament against Australia before adding to her tally in a rout of Singapore. She sat out against Malaysia last Friday but returned with a vengeance against Indonesia, powering their comeback from a goal down at the half.

"Really special," said Bolden, who now has 14 goals in 22 caps for the Philippines. "It's not everyday you get a hat-trick at home, in your home country."

"It's really special, and I really take pride in it," she added.

It's the second hat-trick at home for Bolden, who also scored three times against Malaysia in the group stages of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Her five goals in the AFF tournament tied her with Australia's Amy Sayer in the Golden Boot race. 

Bolden credited her teammates for her goals, noting the fine passes that she received all throughout the match. Sara Eggesvik and Jaclyn Sawicki found Bolden with crosses into the box for her first two goals, and on the third, she was played through by Katrina Guillou.

"Those were great balls that were played into me," said Bolden, who plays club football for Chifure AS Elfen Saitama in Japan's WE League. 

As impressive as Bolden was, her head coach believes that there is another level for the Filipina striker to reach. Alen Stajcic admits that he has "put a little bit of pressure" on Bolden to lead the team in goals.

"She's our No. 9, she's our talisman, and I think she's a fantastic contributor to our team," said Stajcic. "I just said to her a minute to go, I think she's got much more in the tank."

"I think she can really be one of the world-class players in our group if she keeps working hard and keeps improving," the coach added. 

Bolden herself stressed that she remains hungry for more even after a quality performance. 

"I could have had two more, five, six, seven," said Bolden, who hit the side netting in the second half and fired a header wide as well. "But you know, I'm happy with the ones that I did finish, and I'm just hungry for the ones that I missed."

"Again, I couldn't do that without the team, couldn't do that without the staff that we have, motivating us, supporting us, reminding us to stick to our principles," she added. "And it's just a really great feeling."

"And again, I feed off that crowd, we all feed off the crowd. So it's even more special, doing it in the Philippines."

Bolden and the Filipinas are back in action on Tuesday for their final Group A match against Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand.