The Philippine Under-15 Girls Football Team is set to play in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U15 Championship to be held in Vientiane, Laos starting on May 10.
The squad has been drawn in Group B of the competition and will be playing against the teams of Singapore, Cambodia, Timor Leste, and Indonesia.
They will be opening their campaign with a game against Timor Leste on May 10.
According to head coach Marielle Benitez, the team has a positive outlook going into the tournament considering their previous performances in the international stage.
“Of course, we want to win the gold. I think we have a very good chance. These girls have it clear in their mind that they want to make it to the semifinals, the finals and eventually win the gold,” she said after the 6-3 win in their friendly against Ateneo De Manila University on Saturday.
In last year’s meet, where the age bracket was still in the Under-14 category, the Philippines settled for a silver medal finish after falling to Thailand, 0-1, in the finals.
“Last year, we did very well. We won silver. But of course, after one year, there is a big difference in technique and understanding. We can also expect that the teams that we will be playing against will have already improved as well,” Benitez held.
After more than a month of training together in Laguna, women’s youth team coach explained that they are happy with the way things are going in their camp.
“So far it has been good. We’ve been camped in Los Banos. It’s good that we were really able to concentrate there and really work with the players,” Benitez explained.
She added, “Individually, they are very good with their techniques and tactically they are very smart. I think we will just need to polish our finishing and finding the good combinations on the pitch in our rotation.”
With players coming from different parts of the country as well as in some parts of the United States of America, Benitez stressed that she is happy that the players are getting together very well.
“We’ll I think they are starting to come together. We have a lot of team building activities because we have girls from the USA, from Manila and the provinces,” she stated.
“I think the chemistry is there. It’s just a matter of putting that team bonding and replicating it on the pitch,” Benitez concluded.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES