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Filipinas target gold in Women’s Championship at Rizal Stadium

THE Philippine women’s football team goes on another chase for history when it vies in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship from July 4-17 on home ground.

Riding the momentum of their milestone FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification and podium finish in the recent Southeast Asian Games, the Filipinas set their sight on striking gold for the first time in the ASEAN showpiece.

The Filipino booters’ best finish was fourth place in the last edition in 2019 in Thailand, where they yielded to Myanmar, 3-0, in the battle for the bronze.

“We want to win the tournament or win a medal, which I believe we haven’t done before,” said Philippine coach Alen Stajcic, whose charges delivered the country’s first Southeast Asian Games football medal since 1985 in the last edition in Vietnam.

“We were really proud to get the medal and we’ll be aiming for the medal as well (in the AFF meet),” he said.

The Filipinas are embarking on this campaign in line with their long-term goal of giving the global powers a run for their money in next year’s Women’s World Cup.

“As much as development is important, we want to be a winning team and have a winning mentality so trying to get on a podium is definitely a massive priority,” said Mr. Stajcic.

It will be a tall order, though, as the host has to overcome four-time champion Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia in Group A as they contest the two semifinal seats.

“It’s a tough group. We probably got the toughest team in the tournament in Australia,” said Mr. Stajcic, whose side kicks off their bid against the fancied Matildas on Monday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. — Olmin Leyba