Philippine Girls’ Under-16 head coach Marnelli Dimzon expressed satisfaction on her team’s performance in the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers.
“It was an amazing performance. Despite having only one month of preparation, it’s not enough to build the chemistry of the team, to know them well and learn the system, but we did it,” Dimzon told The Manila Times.
She explained that their initial victory against the Indians fueled the momentum in achieving success in their next games in the preliminary round.
“Beating India in our opening game is great step for our following game but knowing that Korea is the toughest team, I’m happy that we’re able to hold their attack and score,” she added.
The Filipina U16 crew began its campaign in group stage with a convincing 2-0 triumph over India on the opening day before thrashing Northern Mariana Islands, 13-0, in the second outing.
But the two-game streak of the Philippines was broken and was tainted by a 0-7 loss against Group A winners South Korea.
“Tough game but they played well. They were able to handle pressure though we were four goals behind in the first half but they still fought hard and did not give up easily,” Dimzon said on their performance against the Koreans.
The former national team standout lauded the fighting spirit of the girls despite failing to contain the fierce offense of the South Koreans.
“From my days playing for the national team, Korea were already dumping us by double digit scores. We knew Korea would use their first 11 team in our game. We prepared how we’ll defend their attack. In the last three minutes, two more goals conceded because we were too tired,” she stated.
Despite failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament, the Filipinas were able to cap off their campaign with a 5-0 drubbing of Southeast Asian rivals Malaysia.
The team ended its impressive run in the AFC meet with a record of three wins and just a single loss to land on the No. 2 spot of their group.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES