The national women’s team gets the luxury of facing lighter foes in the first round as it landed on Group E of the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament from 3 to 11 April.
The Filipinas, who are set to compete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in August next year, were bunched with Hong Kong, Tajikistan and Pakistan with the hopes of making it to the Paris Olympics for the first time ever.
The Philippines will be the highest-ranked team in the group at No. 53 with Hong Kong at No. 77, Tajikistan at No. 144 and Pakistan at 160.
Group A features Uzbekistan, Jordan, Timor Leste, and Bhutan while Group B has Myanmar, Iran, Bangladesh, and Maldives; Group C stars Vietnam, Nepal, Palestine, and Afghanistan; and Group D pits Thailand, Mongolia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.
Also seeing action are Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Lebanon in Group F and India, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan in Group G.
The winners in each Group will advance to the second round where powerhouse countries like North Korea, Japan, Australia, China and South Korea are waiting.
The four teams who will survive the second round, three group winners and the best runner-up record, will play two pairs of home and away matches to determine which nation will claim the two spots in next year’s Summer Games.
In a previous report, Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic said numerous competitions will help them shape up for major tournaments such as the Women’s World Cup.
“I’m very excited to know our opponents,” Stajcic said.
“It’s a long and difficult road to qualifying for Paris. But qualifying through Round 1 and trying to get some matches against the big nations of the AFC is a very enticing and appealing prospect.”