Photo from AFC

The national women’s football team finally sees action Friday night when it takes on Thailand in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup at the Dy Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, India.

Coach Alen Stajcic makes his debut on the touchline at 8 p.m. Manila time as he hopes to steer the ladies to a breakthrough victory over Thailand, a team that has beaten the Philippines in 12 meetings since 1983.

Stajcic, who coached Australia to quarterfinal berths in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics, has been working doubly hard the past few months to make the team competitive.

The players, on the other hand, n that the two-month camp in Irvine, California may work wonders as the Philippines tries to secure one of five direct slots to the 2023 World Cup.

“Obviously, we’ve set some high expectations, internally and within the group,” Stajcic said in the pre-match press conference, his team looking to secure a top two finish in Group B or become one of the two best third place teams in the competition.

“We’ve been working hard the last couple of months to ensure that we got a good alignment within the group and good team unity and we’ve come a long way with all those aspects.

“So, we’ve set a high bar for ourselves and come game time we’re gonna start reaching those heights if we want to,” he added.

Returnees Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada along with Chandler McDaniel, Cam Rodriguez and Tahnai Annis are among the players expected to deliver for the Pinay booters against the Thais.

“We definitely came here to compete and win games. We want to build off from our experience in the last Asian Cup and improve how we did last time and do very well here,” said Annis.

Source: Manila Bulletin (