Football: Fan support crucial as Filipinas eye top of AFF podium

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2022 01:35 PM

Nearly 1,500 fans showed up to the Filipinas' match against Indonesia in the AFF Women's Championship on Sunday night. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Nearly 1,500 fans showed up to the Filipinas' match against Indonesia in the AFF Women's Championship on Sunday night. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- The fans at the Rizal Memorial Stadium got their money's worth on Sunday night as the Philippine women's national football team produced a sensational second-half comeback in the 2022 AFF Women's Championship.

Trailing by a goal to Indonesia -- the first time they fell behind in the tournament -- the Filipinas equalized in the 48th minute through skipper Tahnai Annis en route to a 4-1 victory. Sarina Bolden netted a hat-trick in 10 minutes to secure the win for the PWNFT.

Along the way, they were cheered on by a crowd of nearly 1,500 fans, with the Ultras Filipinas providing non-stop chanting and singing for 90 minutes.

It was an atmosphere embraced by the Filipinas, who qualified for the semifinals of the tournament and remained on top of Group A with 12 points from four matches.

"I feed off that crowd, we all feed off the crowd," said Bolden, who heard her name being sung by the Ultras after the match after raising her scoring tally to 14 goals for the Philippines. 

"It's even more special, doing it in the Philippines," she said of her hat-trick.

Philippines coach Alen Stajcic has been vocal in wanting to see more fans attend their matches and he was pleased at the turnout in Sunday's game. But the Australian mentor also hopes that it is a trend that will continue as they progress in the tournament.

"We want this place rocking," said Stajcic. "We want it full. It's so good to have a bigger crowd here tonight. The noise and the atmosphere is certainly an extra factor."

"I love listening to the Ultras singing the songs, I loved the atmosphere inside the stadium. The bigger the atmosphere, the more chances we have of winning this tournament," he added. "That's the whole point of having home-ground advantage."

"I implore everyone to come out and support the team, support the nation and really help us get over the line."

The Filipinas will be back in action on Tuesday night, taking on Thailand with a sweep of Group A on the line. Tickets to the matches are available via SM Tickets as well as at the venue itself.