Lull in big tilts chance for Filipinas to establish real identity
FOOTBALL

Lull in big tilts chance for Filipinas to establish real identity

/ 05:10 AM April 06, 2024

Philippine women’s football team Filipinas

Philippine women’s football team known as Filipinas ahead of its friendly game against South Korea. –FILIPINAS PHOTO

Coach Mark Torcaso considers the lean schedule the Philippine women’s football team is currently facing this year as a chance to build what it can become.

“We understand that there are some important competitions next year, and we want to be ready for those,” Torcaso said about the Filipinas’ participation in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship and Southeast Asian Games in 2025.

The Filipinas are oddly less active compared to last year when they played for the first time in the Fifa Women’s World Cup, as no major tournaments are slated for the calendar year.

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READ: Filipinas lose 3-0 to South Korea in friendly

But Torcaso doesn’t want to use that as an excuse for his team to take a step back, which is why the two friendly matches against South Korea, the first being held at presstime in Icheon, are opportunities they don’t want to waste.

“We don’t have any major tournaments for our senior national team, but it’s a chance for us, especially for myself and the coaching staff, to continue building our network with the players, to continue playing strong opposition like Korea, be active in the windows and really sending a message to our players on how we want to play and what our identity is,” said Torcaso.

Next year’s targets

The Filipinas will look to defend the AFF title they won in 2022 at Rizal Memorial Stadium with then-coach Alen Stajcic while also aiming to bring home a medal in the 2025 SEA Games which Thailand will be hosting.

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So far in 2024, the Filipinas have played in the Pinatar Cup, losing their two games to Scotland and Slovenia, while also dealing with the same outcome against Finland in a friendly prior to that tournament.

But Torcaso sees silver linings in those results against quality opponents.

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“We want to bridge the gap with the other Asian teams for us to become better,” he said. “We want to challenge the best to be the best.”

Also part of Torcaso’s plan is to slowly integrate some players who will take part in Philippines’ debut appearance next month in the Asian Football Confederation Women’s U-17 Asian Cup in Indonesia, namely Nina Mathelus, Alexa Pino and Aiselyn Sia.

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“They can only be better by being involved in a senior environment, not just being in the game but being part in the training with Sarina Bolden, Sofia Harrison and Olivia McDaniel who have been to the World Cup,” said Torcaso. “I’m really excited about what the future holds for our young players.”

TAGS: Filipinas, Philippine women’s football

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