MANILA, Philippines -- Midfielder Tahnai Annis is hopeful that the improvements shown by the Philippine women's national football team in their training camp will translate to results in the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022.
Annis, 32, was among the heroes in the Philippines qualifying campaign last September, as she scored two goals in two matches against Nepal and Hong Kong to ensure that the Filipinas would clinch a spot in the Asian Cup.
Annis scored the equalizer against Nepal in the 90th minute -- her first goal for the Philippines -- before Camille Wilson secured the come-from-behind win when she scored in the first minute of extra time.
Against Hong Kong, Annis scored the opener in the 17th minute, and the Filipinas came away with a 2-1 win thanks to Chandler McDaniel's 87th minute winner.
Annis is now with the Philippine women's team in Irvine, California, where they have been training since early November in preparation for their campaign in the AFC Women's Asian Cup in India next month.
"The squad we have right now has been really great. It's nice to have a little bit of consistency from our last campaign being so close, and now we kind of have a core group, and we've been able to bring in players kind of from all over," Annis said in a recent press conference.
Annis, who made her Philippines debut in 2018, said the team was making progress particularly with regard to their chemistry.
"I think the team has really been able to jell a little bit more than we've ever been able to, 'cause this is the longest amount of time all of us have spent together, training consistently," she explained.
"It's really starting to show," she added.
The Filipinas have played friendlies with local clubs in California, and only briefly took a break for Christmas before returning to training. They are set to fly straight to India after wrapping up camp in January.
There, the Philippines will play Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia in Group B, with the top two teams and two best third-placed teams advancing to the knockout stage.
At stake in the Asian Cup are five spots to the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023, which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
"I'm really excited for the squad that we have, and I think we can do really well if everyone is able to be 100% and give everything we have," Annis said of their chances in India.