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Malditas tap Aussie mentor

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Alen Stajcic gets the marching order of leading the national women’s football team in the AFC Asian Cup. (Photo courtesy of BBC)

The national women’s football team got a massive boost following the appointment of Alen Stajcic of Australia as its head coach in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India in 2022.

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) made the announcement on Tuesday, with Stajcic replacing former Malditas head coach Marlon Maro, who recently steered the Filipina booters to their second straight AFC Asian Cup since 2018.

The Malditas, ranked 68th in the FIFA standings, booked their Asian Cup slot after toppling Nepal and Hong Kong in the qualifiers in September.

With this, the 47-year-old Stajcic will carry the task of leading the Philippines to an impressive finish in the prestigious Asian tourney, which also serves as a qualifier for the FIFA World Cup in 2023.

“We are thrilled that Alen Stajcic has accepted the position to be the head coach of the Philippine national women’s team head coach,” PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said.

“His appointment shows the commitment and determination of the PFF to give our women’s national team the best possible chance to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

One of the most accomplished women’s football coaches in the world, Stajcic recently capped a five-year career with the Australian national team, which he led to the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

He also anchored the team to a quarterfinals appearance in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 before being shortlisted for the Best FIFA Women’s Coach Award in 2018.

Also joining Stajcic at the helm is his long-time assistant coach and Western Sydney Wanderers mentor Nahuel Arrarte.

In a previous Daily Tribune report, the national squad is looking to enter another training camp in Irvine, California as part of its early preparation for the Asian Cup proper next year.

The Filipinas are tipped to see action against defending champion Japan and other powerhouses South Korea, China, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Thailand, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei and host country India in the continental tilt.

“Coach Alen Stajcic has the capabilities to elevate the Philippine women’s team on the Asian stage and beyond,” PFF secretary-general Edwin Gastanes said.

“We look forward to what he can bring to the team which has qualified to the final competition of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022.”

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