PH football team’s ‘talisman’ Bolden stoked to do more
Coming off her second-career hat trick for flag and country, Sarina Bolden is hungry to do more as the Philippines aims to take top spot in Group A of the Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship on Tuesday against regional rival Thailand.
Bolden is a cinch to feature in the 7 p.m. match at Rizal Memorial Stadium after firing all her three goals in the second half of the Filipinas’ 4-1 win over Indonesia two nights earlier.
That flurry wasn’t what stoked her goalscoring fire, though.
“I’m happy with the ones that I did finish and hungry for the ones I missed,” Bolden said, pointing out the other attempts that went off target throughout the course of the match.
Her onslaught allowed coach Alen Stajcic’s side to come away with its fourth win in four matches, but not after falling a goal down at halftime after a rare mistake at the back allowed Indonesia to score.
The performance stretched Bolden’s goalscoring tally to five in the regional championship and 14 in her international career, perhaps establishing her as the team’s top talisman.
Stajcic has put high expectations on Bolden’s shoulder with the tournament entering the difficult phase and preparations for next year’s Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup still far from the midway point.
“She’s our No. 9 (main striker), she is our talisman and I think she’s a fantastic contributor to our team. And I think she’s got so much more in the tank,” said Stajcic.
“She can really be one of the world-class players within our group if she keeps working hard and she keeps on improving,” added Stajcic.
Breaking a tie
The Filipinas face Thailand for the third time in the calendar year, the two teams splitting their previous two encounters.
A 1-0 win in the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup in India last January opened the historic campaign of the Philippines, which eventually reached the semis to qualify for the World Cup.
Last May saw the Filipinas being denied a first-ever appearance in the final of the Southeast Asian Games, with Thailand taking a convincing 3-0 win in the semifinals of the women’s football tournament held in Vietnam.
The Philippines sits on top with 12 points and can emerge as group winner with at least a draw over Thailand, which is behind by two in the table. INQ