The national women’s football team flies to Costa Rica for an 11-day training and a pair of friendly matches in preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Bannered by head coach Alen Stajcic, the Filipinas will face world No. 37 Las Ticas in a tune-up match on 7 October at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium in Alajuela Province.
They will have a rematch on 11 October, but both federations have yet to finalize the venue.
The back-to-back friendly matches are part of the Filipinas buildup for the World Cup that will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August next year.
Prior to this, the Filipinas faced New Zealand in a friendly match last week which they yielded a 1-2 decision in Auckland.
Stajcic said facing higher-ranked teams will not only sharpen their skills and polish their strategies but will also boost their confidence and give them experience needed against global heavyweights.
“The friendly matches against Costa Rica in October give us a chance to experience different styles of play after playing against New Zealand early this month,” Stajcic said.
“We improved a lot but there’s no doubt that expectations and goals are higher and we know how hard it is to keep climbing so we’re working hard trying to reset our goals to keep striving for more success.”
“It’s just continued growth for us. We’re heading down the right track but definitely we’re not getting complacent on thinking this is enough. We want more.”
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta is delighted that the Filipinas are getting quality matches that will toughen them up for the World Cup.
“We are pleased that the Filipinas are getting these types of matches as they continue their preparations for the World Cup,” Araneta said.
PFF secretary general Edwin Gastanes also thanked the Costa Rican Football Federation for agreeing to help them in their preparation for the World Cup.
Costa Rica, after all, also qualified for the World Cup after finishing fourth in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in Mexico last July.
“We thank the Costa Rican Football Federation for their assistance and cooperation for making the camp and the matches possible at a time when World Cup-bound teams are also busy setting up camps and matches,” Gastanes said.
“The PWNT is fortunate to have a very supportive team manager in Jeff Cheng, who has been looking after the Filipinas in the buildup to the World Cup. We appreciate Mr. Cheng’s continuous support to the Filipinas.”
Cheng assures the supporters that the Filipinas will face no less than the toughest opponents to make sure they have a good showing in the upcoming World Cup.
“The team needs as much time together as the players’ schedules will allow, and the more competitive matches we play, the more team cohesion and chemistry will improve,” Cheng said.
“We assure the Philippine football community that the whole PWNFT — management, coaching staff and plays alike — continues to do its best to train and prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year, and the PFF is committed to find ways for the team to get more matches against quality opponents.”