Photo from AFC

National women’s football coach Alen Stajcic took offense at those questioning the presence of Fil-foreign players during the team’s memorable run in the recent AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Stajcic clapped back at critics who raised eyebrows on social media over the Philippine lineup that is composed mostly of those who were born to at least one Filipino parent abroad.

The negative sentiments were also not taken kindly by local football fans, who are largely supportive of seeing them don the national team shirt during the competition which resulted in a historic spot in next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“I get a little bit incensed about that question, about how Filipino the players are,” Stajcic said from Sydney where he virtually attended the team’s press conference held Sunday, Feb. 6 at the Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

“It upsets me a little bit when you see the players at training and how much passion they play with and how proud they represent the flag and what they carry in their hearts. How can you doubt how much Filipino they are. It’s really upsetting, that type of question.

The Australian-born mentor added that the team had done nothing but to represent the Philippines well with its performance that resulted in a World Cup berth and a semifinal finish during the two-week campaign.

“You know, they’ve broken so many barriers for the country. They fly the flag proudly in their heart which is the main thing, and what wonderful ambassadors for the country. And I think that’s what really is the most important aspect,” he said.

Most members of the team arrived in Manila over the weekend, including those who were able to visit the country for the first time.

“Being able to see where my mom grew up, that is something I thought I would never able to do,” said Guillou, one of the team’s standout performers.

Source: Manila Bulletin (