For the first time, members of the national women’s football team got a glimpse of the trophy that will be disputed when they march to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this July.
Co-captain Hali Long and Inna Palacios welcomed the World Cup trophy with open arms during its unveiling ceremony at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City.
The trophy, which is pegged at P1.6 million, is touring all the 32 competing countries with the Philippines as its third stop.
It will be in the country until today before leaving for Vietnam, which will also make its first ever World Cup appearance.
“It’s a big honor and opportunity but it also comes with a lot of responsibility so we have to put our heads down and keep working,” Long said.
“We know that it’s not going to be easy in the World Cup.”
Also in attendance during the unveiling event were Philippine Football Federation secretary general Edwin Gastanes, Australian ambassador HK Yu, New Zealand ambassador Peter Kell and International Football Federation Trophy Tour manager Sara Gadoin.
Gastanes said having the World Cup trophy in the country is truly a great honor for the Philippines, a country with rich football tradition until it was overtaken by basketball and volleyball in terms of popularity.
“It is a great honor to the federation, the country and the football fans, for the Philippines to be one of the stops of one of the most coveted trophies in women’s football,” Gastanes said.
Filipinas assistant coach Nahuel Arrarte added that the World Cup trophy gives aspiring players a chance to dream big and get motivated.
“It’s massive for the whole nation, not just in football but an ability to impact women to be able to dream big to achieve whatever they set on doing,” Arrarte said.
The Filipinas will be in Group A in the World Cup along with co-host New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway in Group A.
The team is also expected to compete in competitions such as the first round of the Olympic qualifiers in Tajikistan in April and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in May in the buildup for the World Cup.