Filipinas eyeing SEA Games gold

It’s a very real chance for our women’s team

The Filipinas are going to be one of the top favorites in the Phnom Penh SEA Games in May.

Exposure to various overseas camps and tournaments makes the Philippine national women’s football team a strong contender for the gold in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this May.

This was the belief expressed by Philippine Football Federation secretary general Edwin Gastanaes, the man at the helm of revving up the Filipinas for the FIFA Word Cup in New Zealand.

Gastanes said a mouth-watering clash for the gold with defending champion Vietnam is a big possibility given the Filipinas’ solid showing on foreign soil the past few months.

Its conquest of the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation championships last July also gave the squad a big lift in confidence level.

The Philippines and Vietnam are the only teams in the region playing for the World Cup this year although Thailand could still enter at the last minute via the backdoor.

“It’s a very real chance for our women’s team. Of course, anything is possible in football but with our kind of preparation, there are two countries that are really prepared for the SEA Games,” Gastanes said during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“After achieving that victory in the AFF Women’s Championship, we are looking forward to bagging medals in the Southeast Asian Games. That will be another historic event and capability-wise, they are capable and the coaching staff is honing their skills and they have not stopped training even last December,” he said.

The Philippines hasn’t won a gold medal in women’s football in the SEA Games since it debuted in 1985 with the Vietnamese being the winningest country with seven gold medals.

The country only won two bronze medals in the biennial meet with the latest being from last year’s tournament after beating Myanmar 2-1 iin Hanoi, Vietnam.

Since then, the Filipinas have been playing friendly matches with World Cup co-host New Zealand, Costa Rica, Chile and Papua New Guinea last year and are also set to play in the Pinatar Cup in Murcia, Spain against Wales, Scotland and Iceland this February.

Also on tap for the Filipinas is the first round of the 2024 Olympic qualifiers in April.

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