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Filipinas chase Olympic dream

The Filipinas football team is set to undergo revamp. Photo courtesy of PWNFT

Newly-appointed Filipinas head coach Mark Torcaso is looking to form a formidable and competitive squad to ensure good results both in the Asian Games and in the 2024 Asian Football
Confederation Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

Torcaso, however, admitted tha putting up the best roster for the two major international stints is easier said than done.

“As I said, it is a short turnaround for the Asian Games and we’ll make sure to prepare the side for the tournament and obviously, the Olympic qualifiers in October,” Torcaso said, who is handling a squad
that is currently at No. 44 in the latest International Football Federation rankings.

The Filipinas are set to compete in the Asiad in Hangzhou, China starting on 22 September before flying to Perth, Australia next month for the second round of the Olympic qualifiers.

Torcaso, who took the mantle from former head coach Alen Stajcic, said that they will take advantage of their Asiad stint to scout their Olympic qualifiers rivals.

“For us, this is an opportunity to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers and what goes forward after that so we’re looking forward to it, the girls are looking forward to it, the staff is looking forward to it. together and performing for this country,” Torcaso,
who is making his first international cap for the Filipinas,” said.

The Philippines is in Group A of the Olympic qualifiers and will play Chinese Taipei on 26 October, Australia on 29 October and Iran on 1 November.

Only the winners of each group and the best group runners-up from the second round will advance to the third and final round of the qualifiers set on February 2024 where two tickets for the 2024 Paris Olympics are at stake.

Torcaso is looking forward to the prospect of facing 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-host Australia, which made it as far as the semifinal last 16 August.

“I’m really looking forward to being in that scenario and against Australia but also the other teams that are equally important to play against and hopefully give the girls an opportunity to progress to the Olympics,” Torcaso said.

The 42-year-old Australian coach has put up a training camp attended by World Cup 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 and the under-17 team.

“The important thing we have to do is to create a situation where more and more young girls want to play the game and that was the start of that, having the U-17 work with us in the camp,” Torcaso, who also handles Western United in the Australian League,

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