The Philippine Football Federation wouldn’t be surprised if the national women’s football team pulls off another shocker, this time, against the fancied South Korean squad in the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Asia Cup on Feb. 3 in Pune, India
PFF president Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta and secretary general Ed Gastanes both expressed their confidence that the national team can once again defy expectations especially after its historic win over Chinese Taipei on Sunday which allowed the Filipina booters to clinch the country’s very first FIFA World Cup seat.
“I think ‘yung adrenaline nila andyan pa so extra fuel yan to play harder and play better and yung confidence nila kasi that they have shown na they can compete with the best teams,” said Araneta during the Philippine Sportswriter Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
"The team has shown and the coaching that we have, I think kaya naman natin makipag compete against South Korea and baka makasilat tayo, malamay mo di ba,” he added.
Gastanes echoed Araneta’s sentiments, saying that the national team has been at the top level of the Asian competition since the 2018 Asian Cup where it fell one victory shy of finally making it to the world stage.
The addition of Coach Allen Stajcic and his crew, along with the team’s intensive preparations keyed the Filipinas’ breakthrough success which wrote a new page in the Philippine football history.
“Some forget that in 2018 Asian Cup, we were number six but five only will go to the World Cup, so 2018 kumakatok na tayo and what we did was to continue the program,” Gastanes recalled.
“Initially we got coach Marlo (Maro) in the Asian Cup qualifiers and then coach Allen and his coaching team, that really helped a lot,” he furthered.
Gastanes also lauded the grit of the Filipina booters in the face of tough challenge, putting up stellar performances against the likes of Thailand and Australia and was later on capped by the dramatic 4-3 win over the Taiwanese in the penalty shootout.
“I see the difference now in the attitude, in the fitness of the players so I will not be surprised if they surprised Korea on February 3. Anything is possible with this team because they are so motivated yet they are humble and they practice hard. Anything is possible.”