The Philippines opted to pull out of the qualification round of the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Women’s Championship in November according to a statement by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
“The U19 Women’s team withdraws from the AFC U19 Women’s Championship as a result of conflict with college schedules,” said PFF General Secretary Edwin Gastanes in a statement released to the media.
“While the PFF maintains its objective of progressing football through international competitions, it should be education at the top of the player’s priorities,” he added.
The team was originally slated to play in Hanoi, Vietnam in Group D of the preliminary round of the competition, together with the teams of powerhouse Iran, India and host Vietnam.
A total of 18 teams from the Asian continent will vie for the four remaining slots in the main tournament that will be held in China in August next year.
Japan, North Korea, South Korea and China have already earned their spots in the final round of the continental women’s football championship following their impressive performance in the 2015 edition.
Besides the Philippines, Lebanon and fellow Southeast Asian squad Singapore have also backed out of the biennial meet.
The Filipina U19 training pool is a mixture of collegiate and high school standouts together with players of the U14 Philippine team that won silver in an AFC tournament.