Alen Stajcic relishes 'unforgettable' stint with Filipinas | Inquirer Sports

Alen Stajcic relishes ‘unforgettable’ stint with Filipinas

/ 10:38 PM August 08, 2023

Philippines' coach Alen Stajcic Women's World Cup

Philippines’ coach Alen Stajcic applauds the fans after the din of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group A football match between Norway and the Philippines at Eden Park in Auckland on July 30, 2023. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines—The partnership between the Philippine women’s football team and coach Alen Stajcic may have ended but the experience they shared will remain forever.

Stajcic was appointed as the Filipinas’ head coach in October 2021 and managed to steer them to greater heights.

In just less than two years, Stajcic guided the Philippines to its first appearance in the World Cup where the Filipinas also scored a breakthrough goal in a 1-0 victory over co-host New Zealand.

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For Stajcic, the incredible journey by the Filipinas in just a relatively short period of time “will probably never happen again.”

“We had a lot of catching up to do. It’s still a long way to go for me and for them to be really competitive and genuinely consistent internationally but the journey we went on was just remarkable,” Stajcic said in an interview with Optus Sport.

“It’ll probably never happen ever again but I’m so proud of the playing group and everyone who was involved to get to that point.”

Coach Alen Stajcic--REUTERS/David Rowland

Former Filipinas coach Alen Stajcic–REUTERS/David Rowland

Under Stajcic, the Philippines proved it could hang with the best of them despite failing to advance to the next round following a 6-0 loss to Norway.

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The Filipinas’ historic run also captivated a basketball-crazy nation.

“It’s been unbelievable to think about where we started. Outside, we were 30-40 years behind every other team and over 18 months, we probably narrowed that gap to maybe five years behind everyone,” said Stajcic.

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The World Cup, however, also turned out to be Stajcic’s last with the Philippines with the Aussie officially named new coach of Australian men’s club Perth Glory just two days after the Filipinas wrapped up their maiden World Cup campaign.

“We didn’t have long enough, really. But all the superlatives, I’ve used them all up. It was memorable, magical and unforgettable to feel and see that many Filipinos connected and engaged with the team.”

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TAGS: Alen Stajcic, Filipinas

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