THE country’s preparation for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 enters the next phase as four members of the Philippine women’s national football team left for the United States to begin formal training.
Patrice Impelido, Inna Palacios, Camille Rodriguez, and Sara Castañeda make up the first batch of players based in Manila called up by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and are expected to be joined by other locally-based players Alesa Dai Dolino, Mea Bernal, Kyla Jan Inquig and Anicka Castañeda.
The training camp began on December 27 in Corona, California and will last until March.
Newly appointed coach Richard Boon will be overseeing the program and he will be assisted by Clint McDaniel.
Over 40 players are expected to participate in the three-month camp, which combines the locals with overseas-based players selected from the identification camp held last November.
Notable of these foreign-based players are Eva Madarang, Hali Long, Hanna Parado and Claire Lim, who have suited up for the Philippines in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers and Southeast Asian Games earlier this year.
The Philippines will be competing in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Amman, Jordan next April and have been drawn with China, Thailand and Jordan in Group A while avoiding Australia, Japan, Korea Republic and Vietnam who are in Group B.
They open the tournament against the hosts on April 6 at the Amman International Stadium, followed by the highest-ranked team of their group China on April 9 and finally the Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand on April 12; both these matches will be held at the King Abdullah II Stadium.
With the tournament doubling as Fifa Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, the five teams that finish the best will receive berths to France 2019.
The intensive camp is part of the preparations arranged by the Project Jordan Task Force led by PFF president Mariano V. Araneta with corporate backing from PLDT, the MVP Sports Foundation, Giligan’s, Winner Circle Athletics and Pythos Technology Philippines Inc. (PR)