Despite falling just short of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in France, the rise in women’s football in the last decade in the Philippines is extremely exciting, in which it has led to the Filipinas making their first ever World Cup appearance next week.
After reaching the semi-finals of the 2022 AFC asian Cup, the Philippines had secured a place in this years World Cup.
Although the debutants will arrive with little experience and apprehension, they will have little to fear with Alen Stajcic as their coach. The former Matilda’s coach took Australia to two World Cups and led them to the quarter-finals of the 2016 Olympics, where they lost on penalties to hosts Brazil. This prior tournament experience is inevitably crucial for the Filipinas.
Since arriving on a three-month contract back in October 2021, with the aim to qualify for the World Cup, Stajcic has outdone himself with the teams success so far. Qualifying without going through playoffs earned him immediate respect from fans, in which he has had a huge contribution to this exciting and new position for the Philippines.
Not only is hiring a brilliant coach required for a World Cup, but also building depth in a squad through star players. Sabrina Bolden is the name that first comes to mind when singling out the best female footballers from the Philippines. Having scored a joint record of 22 goals in 37 appearances, as well as having converted the shootout penalty that secured World Cup qualification, Bolden sets a great example to the whole squad, by inspiring them to give their all.
The World Cup is arguably the biggest achievement for the team so far, but it’s important to recognise the earning of their first medal in 37 years at the Southeast Asian games, as well as winning the 2022 AFF Women’s Championships held on home turf.
The Philippines have been placed in Group A, where they will face Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway. A tough Group stage for the Filipinas, as the other three are higher-ranked, but the energy surrounding this historical summer is set to create a close competition to make it out of the group.