Alisha del Campo is one of the three youngest members of the Philippine women’s football team currently competing in the Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers in Tajikistan.
The 17-year old De La Salle Zobel standout knows the pressure and the challenge she will be facing especially that the Tajikistan game is her first international stint with the national team.
But she’s up to the challenge and ready to prove that she deserves a spot in coach Leticia Bautista’s team.
“There’s really pressure. The pressure for me to perform well is really heavy because I really need to step up together with all of my teammates here in the squad,” del Campo said.
Her journey toward joining the seniors team was quite different compared to others, as he was never called to play for the juniors squad.
And donning the Philippine colors in Tajikistan was quite daunting for her.
“It’s shocking because I never went through the youth teams and then I am already here representing the seniors team. It is really surprising but it’s a big opportunity for me,” she said.
Del Campo admitted she still lacks experience in terms of playing in international soils but her performance in the local tournaments most likely caught the attention of the coaching staff.
Her strong performance in tournaments like the Rizal Football Association (RIFA) and Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (WNCAA) probably became her ticket to the national squad.
Del Campo was also part of the Green Archers United FC in the local women’s football league where she is one of the top-scorers.
“From the start of my journey in Zobel, I already played in RIFA and WNCAA tournaments. Our coach and even my other teammates really wanted me to play for the women’s league for Green Archers United,” said del Campo.
“It’s a big help, experience-wise. I played with some senior players so that experience really helped me gain a lot and because of that I am here. It’s great because you get to play with senior players and every game we really learn a lot from them,” she added.
That experience readied her for the national team where she will be facing some of the regions’ top women football players.
“I would train harder and believe not just in myself but in my teammates as well,” she concluded.
The young striker has yet to score a goal in two games but earned a starting role in their 4-0 demolition of Iraq.
The Filipina booters are currently on the run to secure a seat in the final tournament in the Asian championship. The Philippines is playing in Group A together with Jordan, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Iraq and United Arab Emirates.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES