19 December 2012
Malditas prime up for WCup Asian elims
By Olmin Leyba
Fresh from a successful tryouts in the US highlighted with its win over the LA Viking Cup, the Philippine Malditas go for a breakthrough next year in the Asian qualifiers for the Fifa Women’s World Cup Canada 2015.
“You better watch out for the Malditas,” said Phl XI coach Ernie Nierras. “We just won the LA Viking Cup and we have a lot of (new) good players (from the US tryouts/training camp).”
Reinforced by Fil-Ams and Fil-Canadians who attended their camp last November, the Pinay booters beat California Cosmos on penalty shootout to cop the 2012 LA Viking Cup, a four-team tournament designed to promote the highest level of women’s soccer in Southern California.
Nierras said they have tabbed a good bunch of high-caliber recruits, including three who had previously suited up for the US youth sides, as they embark on an ambitious drive to qualify for the Women’s World Cup.
“We have 17 division one players and another three – all Fil-Ams – who actually played for the US Under 23 and Under-20 teams. So we expect a big improvement for the Malditas,” he said.
The Malditas will play in the first round of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup in May 2013 in Bangladesh, where they are bracketed in Group B with the hosts, Thailand and Iran. Winner of the group will advance to the second round, which will award slots to the 2015 World Cup in Canada to the top 5 teams.
“We have a very good chance of winning that group and enter the second round. If we get in the Top 5 (in Round 2), then we’ll go to the World Cup. This is the closest we’ll have to getting in the World Cup so it’s very important we get the support, too,” said Nierras.
The Malditas have ended the year at 83rd in the Fifa world rankings, an improvement of two spots from their previous standing last September.