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Filipinas go all out for Asiad

Newly-appointed Philippine women's football coach Mark Torcaso is upbeat on putting up a formidable team. (Photo from PFF)

The Philippine Football Federation is going all out in assembling a rock-solid unit that will compete in the women’s football competition of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Newly-appointed mentor Mark Torcaso said only eight players out of the 23-woman pool that campaigned in the FIFA Women’s World Cup are available, but he is still optimistic that they will still be able to put up a strong team that will take the Asian
Games by storm.

After all, the likes of Angela Beard, Olivia and Chandler McDaniel and Sarina Bolden are all expected to return to power the squad that will make its debut in the Asian Games set from 23 September to 8 October.

“So all the players are available for the Asian Games which is excellent,” sai Torcaso, who is bracing for a tough battle in his first Asiad since assuming the coaching role from Australian mentor Alen Stajcic.

“Obviously, some of them have a commitment now with clubs that were signed for or committed to. We’ll just pick the best available side and be as prepared for that as possible.”

Torcaso, who started training with the Filipinas at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last Monday, said the team has a very positive attitude entering his training camp.

“The girls have been working hard since we got here. Obviously, the weather has been coming and going but they are still working hard and they are fantastic players,” added Torcaso, whose last stint was head coach of Western United in the Australian League.

Torcaso said there could be more training camps as the Asian Games approach.

“So, at the moment, we are just going through the process of what we want to do and our preparations for that. Just finalizing some details if there will be a camp here or in China prior to the tournament,” he said.

“So it’s just literally pulling from those logistics together and then we’ll probably give more information on how that will look and how our preparation will look once we know that.”

Aside from Beard, Bolden and the McDaniel sisters, midfielders Jaclyn Sawicki and Anicka Castañeda, defenders Hali Long and Sofia Harrison, and goalkeeper Kaiya Jota along with reserves Inna Palacios, Maya Alacantara and Isabella Pasion are the World Cup players
training in Manila.

Also in the pool are goalkeeper Mykaella Abeto and defenders Jonela Albino, Catherine Calatin and Zoe Hudson.

Completing the current pool are midfielders Shelah Cadag, Camille Rodriguez, Hazel Lustan, Charisa Lemoran, Jade Anna Jalique, Rocelle Mendano, Natalie Oca, Demely Rollon and Sarahgen Tulabing as well as forwards Isabella Bandoja, Alisha del Campo, Lanie Ortillo, Elaine
Pimentel, Regine Rebosura, Angelica Teves and Dionesa Tolentino.

The Philippines will be competing in Group E, where it will face Hong Kong on 22 September, South Korea on 25 September and Myanmar on 28 September.

Despite the looming pressure, the 42-year-old Torcaso said he wants the Filipinas to enjoy that game while making the country proud.

“There’s always areas of improvement because obviously, there has been some success over the last couple of years with this team. It’s my expectation we continue that success,” Torcaso said.


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