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Filipinas set sights on winning Asian Games, qualifying for next World Cup

MANILA, August 5 ------ A day after coming home from their historic debut at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, the Philippine women’s national football team already has its eyes on another prize-winning Asian Games in China next month.

During their homecoming event in Makati on Thursday, Katrina Guillou said that while there’s no external pressure for them to bring home the gold, they want to do it for themselves. “I wouldn’t say there’s any pressure but, definitely, as a group and as a team we want to keep building off the momentum that we have. So we want to keep bettering ourselves, taking on more opponents tough ones!” she said.

The Philippine Football Federation has yet to release the official lineup of players for the Asian Games but most of the Filipinas expressed willingness to again represent the country. “Most of us are available. If we get the call, I think, obviously, if we’re able, we’re all ready to play for the country,” said Filipinas forward Chandler McDaniel.

The squad was also confident about being able to keep their momentum going despite the departure of head coach, Alen Stajcic, who led the Filipinas to their first World Cup appearance. He leaves with his chief assistant coach, Nahuel Arrarte, following the non-renewal of their contracts. Stajcic will next coach Perth Glory in A-League, the men's professional football league in Australia. “We can all agree that we credit a lot of where we got to in the last 20 months to them. We wish them luck with whatever they’re doing next. They left us with a great foundation, that’s something to build off of,” said Filipinas defender Alicia Barker. As long as we keep our core values the same, we remain together as a group and as a family, it doesn’t matter who our coaching staff is. We’re going to be able to accomplish the same goals that we set out (to achieve),” added fellow defender Sofia Harrison.

Ultimately, they said their goal is to come back on the World Cup stage stronger than ever. “Now that we’ve been to one, I definitely think that we’re hungrier to go to another one. All the girls are willing to do whatever steps are necessary and do more than we did last time to ensure that we’re prepared to do even better than the last World Cup,” said McDaniel. We want to just grow this program and make sure we stay at the world stage and we stay on everyone’s minds and that this does not die out and it’s not a one-time thing,” added goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel. After talking to the press, the Filipinas also got a chance to interact with their supporters.

One fan said she was grateful to the players for showing the world what women can do. “Maraming criticism about sa female na mahina. Well, sila na mismo yung nagpapakita na malakas ang female. Hindi lang basta-basta. As a player, sobra akong naging proud,” said fan Princess De Guzman.



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