The Philippine Women’s National Team set their sights on a maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance as they take part in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 which kicks off next week, 6 April 2018 at Amman, Jordan.
The tournament will see five teams from two groups of four qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be held in France next year.
In preparation for the tournament, the team had a training camp in California, USA, followed by a camp in Manila and the final camp in Osaka, Japan where they faced with teams in Japan’s Nadeshiko Div.2.
A send-off was held for the Philippine team last 28 March 2018 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. PFF president Mariano Araneta Jr., PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, and PFF Women’s Committee Head and Board of Governors member Ms. Lalaine Sarmiento were present in the send-off to wish the team good luck in the competition.
“I believe that we can do it,” said Araneta. “I hope to see all of you in the upcoming tournaments.”
Under the guidance of head coach Rabah Benlarbi and assistant coaches Steven Joseph Hoffman and Joyce Landagan, the Women’s team is poised to make a statement to their opponents. The Philippines are grouped with host Jordan, China PR, and Thailand in Group A.
WNT National Pool
Tahnai Lauren ANNIS
Amy Zoe AQUINO
Sarina Isabel BOLDEN
Morgan Emmalish BROWN
Kristen Ryley BUGAY
Sara Isobel CASTAÑEDA
Stacy Janet Margery CAVILL
Krystal Victoria DE RAMOS
Sofia Nicole HARRISON
Patrice Mae IMPELIDO
Kearra Theryse JONES
Caitlin Rose KREUTZ
Leah Janessa LAROT
Claire Elisabeth LIM
Hali Moriah LONG
Jessican Anne MICLAT
Inna Kristianne PALACIOS
Maria Luisa PARK
Dylan Leigh PATTERSON
Quinley Mirelle QUEZADA
Kathleen Camille RODRIGUEZ
Jesse Anne SHUGG
Calah Lilindeokalani SIMARAGO
Fixtures: 06 April 2018 8:00 PM local time (07 April 2018 2:00 AM Manila time) Jordan vs Philippines
09 April 2018 4:45 PM local time (10:45 PM Manila time) Philippines vs China PR
12 April 2018 8:00 PM local time (13 April 2018 2:00 AM Manila time) Thailand vs Philippines
It was a historical night for Philippine football.
Amidst the celebrations, there were still questions left unanswered. Only time can tell, but a part of these include Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley's contract, which expires after this big qualification to the Asian Cup.
The former US soccer team captain took the reins in 2014 and led the Azkals to the finals of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, where they fell to Palestine and missed the Asian Cup berth then. However, from then on, Dooley fueled the chaos within one of the best camps that Azkals ever had in 2014 and he ended up enduring the dying popularity of the sport.
Around two months after the 2014 Challenge Cup, Azkals standouts Filipino-German Stephan Schröck and Dennis Cagara admitted that their resignation from the national team was because of tensions with Dooley.
Ever since he came on board the Azkals' team management, Dooley was known for experimentations in the roster – a totally different coaching style from former head coach Hans Michael Weiss.
As he survived the rifts with the team, Dooley's contract was extended for another two years in 2016.
This gave him another opportunity to lead the Azkals in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, where the Philippines co-hosted with Myanmar. To much dismay, the Azkals didn't even make it out of the group stage, with Thailand and Indonesia advancing to the knockout phase.
During the pre-match press con against Tajikistan last March 26, Dooley repeated that the lackluster Suzuki Cup campaign was due to the low fitness levels of the players.
"The team we tested against North Korea, the team was a little bit better [than a] U-12 team in Italy. If you were in that kind of shape, you can’t win against an adult team. It’s not a physical game or the pressure," said Dooley.
The turnaround for the Dooley-led team came in 2017 when the Azkals were taking another shot for Asian Cup. The Azkals managed to clinch that Asian Cup berth and never lost in their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers run as they finished the tournament on top of Group F with 12 points off 3 wins and 3 draws.
With the Azkals qualifying for the Asian Cup under his leadership, it is a question whether the management would leave behind Dooley's actions in the past or will the international coach extend his reign.
Azkals team manager Dan Palami said that the decision will still come in the future and his contract would be deliberated via a "holistic" approach.
"It would be unfair to judge him just based on this game. This is a big result for us, so [we] will take a holistic approach. It's difficult to make commitments when you are really happy, so we have to approach that objectively and see where we want to go," said Palami.
Palami also mentioned that he will be evaluating his own role in team, whether he will be staying with the senior team or moving to the grassroots level.
"After getting the team to the Asian Cup, I'll have to look for another role [in] Philippine football kasi it's been a long journey," said Palami
THE long journey to Abu Dhabi was fittingly sealed by Phil Younghusband's milestone goal as the Philippine Azkals punched a ticket to the 2019 Asian Cup with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Tajikistan on Tuesday at the Rizal Stadium.
Younghusband netted the 50th goal of his international career in the 90th minute to formalize the Philippines' entry to the Asian Cup, the first time in the country's history that it will be making an appearance in the grandest football stage of Asia.
Kevin Ingreso equalized for the Azkals in the 74th minute to ease the anxiety of the home crowd, just 10 minutes after he committed a foul which led to a Tajik penalty.
"I just want to say one thing, this is the best team that we had, this is the best camp that we had in four years. Everything is positive," said Azkals coach Thomas Dooley.
"That's what the team is about. Everybody works. This is amazing. We talked about that before the game. If you are positive, you can't lose," he added.
Azkals needed only a draw to advance, but Ingreso was assessed with a foul inside the box and Akhtam Nazarov scored from the spot in the 64th minute to leave the hosts on the back foot.
Ingreso, however, was quick to make up for that as he headed in a beautiful cross from Iain Ramsay which sent the 4,671 people in attendance into a frenzy.
"We were positive. We kept on pushing forward. We knew we still had the chance," said Ingreso.
"I made that mistake. A clear foul. I was totally down for a few minutes but my teammates just kept picking me up and I was just the lucky one who hit that goal," he added.
Younghusband's milestone moment came when a handball was called on Tajikistan. The Azkals skipper, making his 97th cap for the Azkals, calmly sank the penalty past the Tajik keeper to clinch the victory.
The match, however, was marred by a near brawl involving Dennis Villanueva and Fathuloev Fathullo in injury time after the Tajik midfielder appeared to have hit Villanueva.
Both players were expelled with straight red cards.
Read more at https://www.spin.ph/football/azkals/news/younghusbands-50th-career-goal-sinks-tajikistan-as-azkals-seal-historic-asian-cup-appearance#tro1kvzvmIWoc9A5.99
Philippine Azkals’ shot at history hinged on the shoulders of Phil Younghusband and he delivered.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––
The nation’s leading scorer sent the ball to the back of the net for his 50th goal to push the Philippine Azkals to their first ever 2019 AFC Asian Cup stint with a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Tajikistan Tuesday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Younghusband scored off a penalty kick in the 90th minute to give the home team the insurance goal it needed to top Group F with 12 points from their three wins and three draws.
However, the historic win wouldn’t have been possible had the Azkals folded after their early blunders.
Kevin Ingreso gave up a penalty for the Azkals in the 62nd minute after his poor tackle inside the box led to Nazarov Akhtam drilling the penalty shot past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to put Tajikistan up, 1-0.
Ingreso, though, would make up for his miscue ten minutes later as he converted the header off of an assist from Iain Ramsay from the left wing in the 73rd minute to knot the score at one goal apiece.
From there, it was a tremendous defensive display from the Philippine squad as Neil Etheridge stifled Tajikistan’s numerous chances on goal before Younghusband’s wizardry.
The Philippines is headed to the continental showpiece in United Arab Emirates in January next year.
Manila: The Philippines will be at full strength for the crucial AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying match against Tajikistan as players based abroad will add power to the Azkals squad.
Team manager Dan Palami is delighted that the overseas-based players have answered his call for them to support the bid to qualify for the final stage of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time.
Among those reporting for training this week ahead of the Tajikistan match on March 27 include goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who plays for Welsh club Cardiff City, and Malaysian-based players Ian Ramsay and Misagh Bahadoran.
“We should be proud of our national team players who are doing well internationally in their various clubs,” said Palami.
The Azkals lead Group F of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers on nine points and need only a draw against Tajikistan to confirm their place among the Continent's elite for next January's blockbuster in the United Arab Emirates.
The could have sealed their berth on Matchday Five last November but were held 0-0 by Nepal.
However, with the Tajikistan match being played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines will be confident of getting the job done and taking their place in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 draw on May 4.
Palami said the Tajikistan game is an important match for Philippines.
“The cards are not exactly stacked against us. We are currently on top of the table of Group F with nine points,” added Palami.
World No 122 Philippines will prepare for Tajikistan - who are just two rungs below them in the FIFA World Rankings - with a friendly against Fiji, also to be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, on Thursday.
The Azkals won the corresponding fixture against Tajikistan, with the tie ending 4-3 in favour of the Philippines at the Republican Central Stadium, Dushanbe on June 13, 2017. http://www.the-afc.com/competitions/afc-asian-cup/latest/news/foreign-stars-add-power-for-azkals-final-push
Ahead of their final match in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers against Tajikistan, the Philippine Men’s National Team will face the Fiji Men’s National Team in an International Friendly Match on 22 March 2018 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Kick off is at 7:30 PM.
Ranked 168th in the FIFA World Rankings, Fiji is the second team from the Oceania Football Confederation that the Philippines will face. The Philippines previously faced OFC-side Papua New Guinea in a 5-0 win last October 2014.
The friendly match is the team’s final preparation for their crunch Asian Cup Qualifier match against Tajikistan on 27 March 2018. A win or draw against the Central Asian side will ensure qualification to the final round on January 2019 in the United Arab Emirates.
The Philippine team began the international window with a training camp last 17 March 2018 in preparation for the two matches.
“For us, the most important thing is to see the players have fun playing football,” said Philippines head coach Thomas Dooley. “The game (against Fiji) is for us to try to do what can work against Tajikistan, but importantly is that we don’t get any more injuries.”
23 players have been called up for the friendly including goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard.
Forward Javier Patiño gets his first call up in six months after a knee injury left him unavailable for the last three matches last year.
“Everyone’s spirit is on a high this time around,” said Philippines captain Phil Younghusband. “Going to the next few games, the players’ morale is quite high.”
The Philippine Men’s National Team run in the the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers journey ends this March.
The Philippines will first face Fiji in a FIFA International ‘A’ Friendly Match on 22 March 2018 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
That match serves as the team’s final preparation for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match against Tajikistan on 27 March 2018 also in the same venue.
23 players have been called up for the Fiji friendly. Goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard is the newest addition to the squad. Forward Javier Patiño also makes his return after a knee injury ruled him out in the last three matches.
The International Friendly Match of the Philippines versus Fiji on 22 March 2018 and the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match between the Philippines and Tajikistan on 27 March 2018 will be broadcasted LIVE on LIGA Channel.
The telecast details are as follows:
22 March 2018 (International Friendly Match – Philippines vs. Fiji) Venue: Rizal Memorial Football Stadium Kick-off time: 7:30 PM
27 March 2018 (AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers – Philippines vs. Tajikistan) Venue: Rizal Memorial Football Stadium Kick-off time: 7:30 PM
LIGA is shown on SkyCable Channel 86 (SD) and 183 (HD). Live-streaming details will also be provided shortly.
With players returning from injuries and foreign-based recruits all making themselves available, the Philippine Azkals buckled down to work on Saturday in preparation for their most important match yet.
The Azkals face Tajikistan on March 27 in their final game of AFC Asian Cup Qualifying at Rizal Memorial Stadium with the Filipinos needing a draw to punch their ticket to the continental showpiece event next year in the United Arab Emirates.
Azkals captain Phil Younghusband said the return of the likes of Manny Ott and Javier Patino from injury should come as a huge boost for the side that drew its last three matches.
“It gives us confidence knowing we have players who could have made a difference in the past three games back for this game,” said Younghusband. “We all missed Patino and Manny in the previous games. Patrick (Reichelt) is also back.”
Only the local-based Azkals joined training at McKinley Hill Stadium last Saturday with the rest of the foreign-based players like Neil Etheridge, Daisuke Sato, Iain Ramsay, Pika Minegishi, Misagh Bahadoran and new recruit Michael Falkesgaard linking up with the team next week.
Etheridge will still play for Cardiff City in the English Championship this weekend. Cardiff is currently in a strong position to gain promotion to the English Premier League with Etheridge among its key players.
The Azkals clash with Fiji in a friendly on Thursday also at Rizal Memorial Stadium as Dooley tries to whip his squad into shape for the crucial duel with the Tajiks five days later. Tajikistan will qualify with a victory over the Azkals, whose fate will now depend on the result of the Yemen-Nepal match. A win by both Tajikistan and Yemen will eliminate the Azkals.
Younghusband acknowledged the importance of the match for the sport in the country.
“As it (match) gets closer, I can feel the pressure a bit more with the situation of Philippine football right now,” said Younghusband. “I think we need another milestone, another achievement, another success for football to grow again and this match (against) Tajikistan gives us that chance.”
The Philippine Football Federation has appointed Rabah Benlarbi as Head Coach of the Philippine Women’s National Team effective 15 March 2018. He was previously designated Assistant Coach.
Coach Benlarbi, a French national, holds a UEFA ‘A’ coaching license. He counts being assistant coach of the Chinese Women’s National Team in 2015-2016 among his international coaching stints.
He will be assisted by Assistant Coaches Joyce Landagan and Steven Joseph Hoffman. The current Goalkeeping coach is Anthony Albao.
Members of the national training pool are having their Philippine-based training since 8 March 2018 at the PFF National Training Pitch in San Lazaro Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite. The team will fly to Japan on 20 March 2018 for a 1-week final training camp before competing in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 which begins on 6 April 2018 in Amman, Jordan.
“The road to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 begins with the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta. “With Coach Rabah’s guidance and leadership, we hope that the Philippine Women’s National Team clinch a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.”
Out of 8 participating national teams in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, 5 will go to the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in France in 2019. The Philippines is grouped with Jordan, China PR and Thailand in Group A. The other group consists of Australia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Bienvenido Marañon stepped up to the penalty spot after a Ceres player was brought down in the box in the match against Home United in Match Day 2 of Group F in the AFC Cup.
The Busmen came into the match as favorites after their nine-goal demolition of Boeung Ket in Panaad and the early penalty was supposed to be a beginning of a routine victory at the Jalan Besar.
The Spaniard picked his spot and delivered a shot that rattled off the post which was then cleared by the defense. United later on scored a penalty of their own with Ceres producing an equalizer late in the match.
A made penalty could have changed Ceres’ fortunes early in the group stages but Marañon didn’t let the misstep get in his head and later on delivered against Shan United in an eerily similar situation.
The Ceres veteran buried the the penalty deep on the bottom left corner early in the match to give his squad the ultimate edge to get full three points and reinforce their hold on the top spot of Group F.
“Sometimes in the game, we have chances to score and sometimes we don’t have any,” said the joint top scorer of the tournament.
“But I’m only looking forward to shoot the next penalty and score goals because football does not stop when you miss a penalty or a chance,” said the striker.
Marañon revealed that the sport may be unforgiving sometimes, but there is always another opportunity in the end for one to get redemption.
“You have to be ready, you have to work hard, and I think with that you can do a lot,” he added.
Ceres are now favorites to top the group, needing only a win in the last two games to get some much needed breathing space.
Rest assured the Marañon is there, ready to take on another chance to bring glory to his beloved club.
Group F leaders Ceres-Negros FC aims to continue their unbeaten run as they face a dangerous Shan United squad on March 14 at the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
It will be the second time that the two teams meet in Yangon after their initial meeting in the AFC Champions League that went to a draw after ninety minutes.
Their match in Bacolod almost went the same route until Patrick Reichelt pounced on a defensive blunder in the 79th minute to break the tie. Superb dribbling from Mike Ott allowed Bienvenido Maranon to seal the game minutes later for the home side.
With elimination staring in the face of Shan, the Myanmar squad is expected to go all out in their third and final match. The strike partnership of Iyikwobe Chizoba and Patrick Asare will lead the way supported by Lee Han Kuk and Nay Lin Tun.
The Busmen are expecting another tough physical match similar to the Bacolod leg where Stephan Schrock walked away with bruised ribs and torn shorts after the match. Carlie De Murga and company will have the unenviable task of holding back the Shan attack.
“I think we need to get three points in Myanmar,” said Patrick Reichelt. “Last game (in Yangon) was 0-0. We know the conditions with the heat and all but I’m confident, especially with the win in Panaad, that we could get another three points,” the Ceres winger added.
Ceres are currently on top with seven points followed by Home United by four. Shan United and Boeung Ket have three points apiece. A win by the visitors in Yangon could solidify their hold in first place while a loss could break the group wide open.
There are no suspended players for both squads who can field complete lineups barring injuries. The match kicks off under searing conditions at 4pm (530pm Manila) in the venue also known as the Youth Training Centre. It will be shown live over cable channel Fox Sports 2 and will be streamed live through the Fox mobile apps.