National women’s football coach Marlon Maro expressed high hopes for his squad ahead of 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers which starts this weekend in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Maro believes the team has enough tools to perform well in the matches against Nepal and Hong Kong with a combination of veterans, former youth players and new additions.
“I think this is the best lineup that we were able to assemble because of the combination of seniors and young players,” Maro declared during a virtual press conference hosted Wednesday, Sept. 15 by the Philippine Football Federation.
Nine members of the team that placed fourth in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, seven from past competitions, four new additions and two former U-16 booters compose the 22-player lineup for the continental qualifiers.
Alisa del Campo, Arianna LePage and Chandler McDaniel will be tasked to play up front with Sara Castaneda and Camille Rodriguez lead the midfield that also include Tahnai Annis, Anicka Castaneda, Malea Cesar, Charisa Lemoran, Rocelle Mendana, Jessica Miclat, Alyssa Ube and Camille Wilson.
Co-captain Hali Long will lead the back along with fellow defenders Ryley Bugay, Sofia Harrison, Chelo Hodges, Tara Shelton and Patricia Tomanon.
Veteran Inna Palacios, the other captain of the team, and Olivia Davies McDaniel are the listed goalkeepers for the squad.
Strikers Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quesada won’t be seeing action due to their stints for different pro clubs in Japan, but Maro remains optimistic that the roster can do well.
“We have a combination of big and tall players from goalkeeper, midfield and strikers and I think we’re very much ready on Saturday,” Maro said.
The team, which arrived earlier this week after holding a month-long training camp in the United States, opens its Group F campaign against Nepal on Sept. 18 before facing Hong Kong on Friday, Sept. 24.