Photo from AFC

National women’s football team coach Marlon Maro is eyeing to once again hold camp in the United States as part of its preparations for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup slated Jan. 2022 in India.

The Philippines earned a place in the continental tournament which will also serve as a qualifier for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after topping Group F of the Asian Cup Qualifiers in Tashkent, Uzbekistan behind similar 2-1 victories over Nepal and Hong Kong.

Though pleased with the way his team performed, Maro wants the team to start as early as possible in order for some kinks to be ironed out before plunging into its second consecutive Asian Cup appearance.

“We have to start early,” Maro said in a recent virtual media session arranged by the Philippine Football Federation. “I think we have a three-week break and then after that, the PFF and the rest of the coaching staff will plan for the next camp.

“And then, we have to make sure we beef up with players based on position because there are certain positions that we have to strengthen, particularly the side defenders,” added Maro.

He’s also hoping that the whole team can be together this time, with some players part of the camp in California while the rest are stuck back home doing limited workouts due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“My plan is to make sure all the players can have their visas and California is the only place where you can train because you can do all sports activities,” Maro said.

“And besides that, we can have a lot of friendly matches like what happened before the competition because it helped us a lot to bond and to prepare tactically.”

The five best teams in the Asian Cup will secure spots in the World Cup, which the Philippines hopes to secure this time after falling short to South Korea in a playoff in the 2018 edition held in Amman, Jordan.

The Pinay booters rallied from a goal down to beat Nepal last Sept. 18 after newcomer Chandler McDaniel set up the two late scorers from Tahnai Annis and Camille Wilson.

McDaniel eventually got on the scoresheet six days later when her 88th-minute goal defeated Hong Kong.

Source: Manila Bulletin (