World Cup-bound Pinays shoot for elusive gold in SEA Games
January 25, 2023 - Wednesday 4:01 PM by Romeo Braceros JrPhoto courtesy: Philippine Women's National Football Team
The Philippine national women's football team is a strong contender for the gold at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this May, thanks to exposure to numerous camps abroad and competitions.
This was the opinion of Edwin Gastanes, secretary general of the Philippine Football Federation, who is in charge of preparing the Filipinos for the FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.
Given the Filipinas' impressive performance in recent months on foreign soil, Gastanes said a mouth-watering gold-winning matchup with reigning champion Vietnam is very likely.
In July, the team's victory at the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Championships boosted its confidence.
Thailand still has a chance to sneak into the World Cup at the last minute through a backdoor, but only the Philippines and Vietnam are competing this year.
Since the women's football competition at the SEA Games began in 1985, the Philippines has failed to bring home a gold medal, with Vietnam holding the record with seven victories.
The nation only took home two bronze medals from the biannual competition, the most recent coming from last year's competition after Myanmar was defeated 2-1 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Since then, the Filipinas have participated in friendlies against World Cup co-hosts New Zealand, Costa Rica, Chile, and Papua New Guinea.
They will compete against Wales, Scotland, and Iceland this February in the Pinatar Cup in Murcia, Spain.
The Philippines will also compete in the 2024 Olympic qualification events in April.
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