Stacjic Filipinas pool to make painful cuts as a balloon

Coach Alan Stejic (center) answers questions during a press conference with (from left) goalkeeper Ana Palacios, team manager Jefferson Cheng, defender Haley Long and U-20 head coach Nahul Araarte.

Coach Alan Stejic (center) answers questions during the press conference with (from left) goalkeeper Ana Palacios, team manager Jefferson Cheng, defender Halli Long and U-20 head coach Nahul Ararte. – Francis T. J. Ochoa

Coach Allan Stejek sees the coming weeks and months ahead of the Philippine women’s soccer team’s historic participation in the FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup as both exciting and challenging, especially with the responsibility of dealing with a major dilemma. .

“Now we have a pool of about 30 to 35 players,” Stajcic said on Wednesday when the Filipinos held a late afternoon press conference at the Acacia Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

“And the hardest part of this journey will be that 10 to 12 players who have been with the squad, and have been part of the regular squad, will not be selected for the World Cup.”

But Stajcic seems to have a good problem on her hands, with a wealth of talent and big tournaments before she heads to New Zealand for the world showcase of women’s football.

“It is an exciting time, but it will also be a challenging time for the staff and the players to get the best out of themselves for the upcoming World Cup, which is football’s biggest ever,” he said. It’s a big opportunity.”

February will mark the start of a busy road that will take the Philippines, first with matches against three Great Britain nations — Wales, Ireland and Scotland — in the Panatar Cup in Spain, followed by the opening round of the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers. The opposite would be inferior. Parties Pakistan, Tajikistan and Hong Kong.

Immediate target

And then the Philippines will try to make history in the month of May, hoping to win a first gold medal at the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games where they defeated Vietnam and Thailand in last year’s ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship. are seen as favorites after winning. .

In the process, Stajcic expects challenges within the squad in hopes of getting a crack at seeing action at July’s World Cup, which will pit the Philippines against co-hosts New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

“We’re getting to the stage where they’re going to push each other. [those roster] places,” Stajcic said. “To me, that’s the core quality of the team, to bring each other together, push each other in training, and compete against each other. Ultimately, we’ll get the same qualities and I think that’s another big factor in this team, that we’ve gotten to the point where there are 30 players.

“I think we’ve seen over the course of the year, regardless of who’s playing, you’re going to see the same mentality, the same philosophy, the same motivation and drive from the players and a certain level of performance. I am really proud that we have reached this level,” he added.

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