The national women’s football team will be leaving for Sydney on 10 June as part of the final stretch of its buildup for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August.
Co-captain Hali Long said they are determined to work hard as they fight for slots in the final roster of the team that will see action in the prestigious tournament.
Long said whoever gets picked truly deserves it as they have all proven that they are capable of representing the country on the world stage.
The Filipinas are bracketed in Group A and will open their campaign against New Zealand on 21 July before facing New Zealand and Norway on 25 and 30 July, respectively.
“We will have to dig deep and find someone within us that we have yet to discover and reach that to accomplish something we have never done before on the field,” Long said during the send-off dinner hosted by the New Zealand Embassy late Thursday in Makati City.
“So it will be a new experience, the training, and we’re all excited to see how far we will push ourselves because it’s going to translate on the field and see what happens.”
Long added that their long preparation had squeezed out the best from them.
“It sparked a fire on us. Not everyone is on their A-Game in their abilities 24/7, especially in a month-and-a-half camp. At heart, we have each others’ backs, first and foremost.”
The Filipinas have been competing internationally for almost a year since securing the World Cup slot in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India in 2022.
Aside from local training, they also joined various tournaments such as the Pinatar Cup in Spain and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
The Filipinas also took part in the first round of the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tajikistan last April, breezing through the competition to advance to the second round.
But more than that, the Philippines had risen in the latest FIFA rankings from No. 53 to No. 46 but it will take more than that to ensure the country will make a memorable run in the biggest spectacle in women’s football.