Photo from AFC

The national women’s football team is hoping to translate the learnings gained in its United States training camp into a rewarding campaign in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup which starts Friday, Jan. 21 in Mumbai, India.

Striker Chandler McDaniel said the team learned a lot during its two-month camp in Irvine, California under new coach Alen Stajcic, who hopes to give the Philippines one of the five FIFA Women’s World Cup slots allotted in the continental tournament.

McDaniel added that the long preparation has raised the team’s level of confidence ahead of the Asian Cup stint which starts in Group B against Thailand, Australia and Indonesia.

“I think the camp was very beneficial because not many teams get the opportunity to train and live each other consistently for two months so I think that will is a big factor in how it could help us succeed in this tournament,” McDaniel said in a virtual interview with local football beat writers held Tuesday, Jan. 18.

“We mainly just learned how Alen wants us to play and his playing style, and I think all of us adjusted very well and I think that we’re all on the same page,” added McDaniel, who made her debut for the Philippines in the Asian Cup Qualifiers last year in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“So I think that everything that we’ve learned in camp has definitely transitioned and has made us a different team so I think it will help us going forward,” she concluded.

The ladies’ immediate goal is to secure a quarterfinals berth, either as a top two squad in the group or being one of the two best third placers.

From there, the Philippines will seek a semis berth that will likely assure the country a first-ever trip to the Women’s World Cup.

The Philippines opens its bid against Thailand on the 21st at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai before playing Australia on Jan. 24 at the Mumbai Football Arena.

The squad wraps up the group stage schedule on Jan. 28 opposite Indonesia at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in nearby Pune.

Hopes are high for the Pinay booters under Stajcic, who once steered his home country Australia to the quarterfinals of both the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Source: Manila Bulletin (