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LEADING TO WORLD CUP

More home matches for Filipinas

Philippines U18 team in the AFF U-18 Women’s Championship

Philippines U18 team in the AFF U-18 Women’s Championship. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippine women’s football team could be playing home matches earlier than expected during the international window in November as part of its buildup for next year’s Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup.

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta bared on Saturday that Jamaica and Uzbekistan have sent feelers on possibly flying over here to face the Filipinas in a tri-nation series.

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“Jamaica wants to come here in November and Uzbekistan also wants to play here, so maybe we can have a tri-nation tournament,” Araneta said after the groundbreaking ceremony of the PFF’s new headquarters in Carmona, Cavite.

Jamaica is currently ranked 51st in the world and recently placed third in the Concacaf W Championship, earning a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics play-in against Canada.

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On the other hand, Uzbekistan is ranked five spots higher at No. 46 and ruled the Central Asian Football Association Women’s Championship.

The planned minitournament is still different from a possible four-nation event, also at home, which could be held shortly before the World Cup.

There’s a strong clamor for the Filipinas to hold some of their games on home soil, especially after 8,257 fans witnessed their 3-0 victory over Thailand in the final of the Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Formidable foes

Coach Alen Stajcic’s side is hoping to take on tougher opponents which he feels would help the Philippines a great deal in putting up a competitive showing in its maiden World Cup stint.

Two friendlies against Costa Rica in October have been finalized, with Araneta adding that the Filipinas could fly over to Dubai for matches against an African team and one from New Zealand.

The PFF broke ground on its future home located along Sugar Road and near the San Lazaro racetrack, where it is adjacent to the federation’s National Training Center.

Financed through Fifa’s Forward Program and the Asian Football Confederation worth $800,000 (P44.28 million), the five-story building will replace the current two-story office in Pasig City and is being eyed for a late 2023 completion.

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Fifa president Gianni Infantino, in a video message aired during a short program, hailed the PFF project.

“I am particularly happy to note that you have worked so closely with Fifa to reach the point you arrive at today, and this is exactly the aim of the Fifa Forward Program,” said Infantino.

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TAGS: Filipinas, Football
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