THE PHILIPPINE Malditas, despite a rookie-laden roster, look forward to reaching the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship late this month.
“This team may be young but I believe it is stronger compared to the team that saw action in the AFF women’s tourney last year,” said head coach Ernie Nierras at the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate yesterday.
“I practically have an Under-17 squad,” added Nierras, who was joined in the forum by American assistant coach Trey Scharlin and Fil-Am players Amanda Empleo, Olivia Schmitt, and Camille Wilson.
The Malditas, assured of competing in the Southeast Asian Games this December, have been grouped with Japan’s Under-23 side, Indonesia, Laos and host Myanmar (Burma) in the tournament kicking off Sept. 10 in Yangon.
Nierras said the Malditas had a good draw up until the powerhouse Japanese were included in the group, where only the top two teams will clinch semifinal seats. But the coach added he expects his side to beat Indonesia and Laos with the duel against Myanmar serving as the key to their semifinal hopes.
The other group is made up of Australia, Malaysia, Jordan and Vietnam.
The PH booters open their campaign against Indonesia on Sept. 10.