Alen Stajcic, coach of the Philippine women’s football team, said there’s still a lot of work to do ahead of their historic appearance in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in August in New Zealand.
The Filipinas made heads turn after advancing into the semifinals of the 2022 Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup.
But Stajcic does not want to be caught in the frenzy.
“It’s been an incredible ride and one that I’ve enjoyed. I love coming to work every day for this group, for the staff, for the players, it’s a united group,” Stajcic said.
“Saying that we know we’ve achieved a lot but there’s a mountain to climb before the World Cup and we know how much more we need to improve in preparation for the World Cup.”
“It’s been a great year, we put it in our back pocket and be proud of our efforts and give ourselves a pat on the back because we really have achieved a great deal, but the reality is we know how much we have to work harder to climb up that mountain next year.”
The Filipinas have continuously trained and played with different countries as they are sorted with World Cup co-host New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland in Group A.
Apart from the Kiwis, the Philippines played friendly matches with Costa Rica, Chile, Papua New Guinea to get ready for its debut in the World Cup.
The Filipinas also won the bronze medal of the 31st Southeast Asian Games last May in Hanoi and took the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship last 17 July with a 3-0 win over Thailand at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Philippines is set to compete in the Pinatar Cup 2023 in Murica, Spain in February where the country will face No. 32 Wales, No. 25 Scotland, and No. 16 Iceland.
“We’ve raised the expectations of the country which is fantastic, we’ve raised the expectations of the playing group which is even better now it’s about the players competing not just for the country, but competing for spots, increasing the depth and the flexibility.”
“People can do different roles and understand roles even better and I think we saw a little bit of that against Papua New Guinea, being able to be more composed on the ball to be able to execute the things that we want to happen,” Stajcic said.
“Again, lots of good things but the depth of the squad and the competition for spots going forward will propel the team even further next year.”