Why has women’s football in the Philippines changed?

18 Th7 2022 | 17:44

the PhilippinesAs many as 22 of the 27 Filipino players who have signed up for the 2022 AFF Women’s Cup are overseas Africans and born overseas.

On the evening of July 17, the Philippines beat Thailand 3-0 Advance by a landslide in the 2022 AFC Cup Women’s Final. Not only was it their first Southeast Asian title, it was also the first time the Filipino women’s team had won in any event.

The Philippines won the championship for the first time in history at the 2022 AFF Women's Cup in Manila on July 17. Photo: GMA

The Philippines won the championship for the first time in history at the 2022 AFF Women’s Cup in Manila on July 17. picture: GMA

All 11 Filipino players who started that match were born and raised abroad, like goalkeepers Deng Wenlin Team in Vietnam. They are all mixed-race players, most of them of American blood, and their physique and physical strength are better than those in Southeast Asia.

In fact, coach Aaron Stasic filled out the roster with the names of 22 mixed-race players. That is, he can rotate the entire lineup to meet the density of two days per game in the tournament, while still ensuring all players are on the floor.

Of the 22 players, 19 were born in the United States. They both have a Filipino mother or father and are of two ancestry. The remaining three players grew up in Australia, Canada and Norway. Five pure Filipino players barely played.

Philippine sports are traditionally known only for the “3bs” sports, namely basketball, boxing and billiards. Soccer, especially women’s football, has achieved only negligible results. They have failed to make it through the group stage of the Women’s AFC Cup in the first nine stages of their participation. It wasn’t until the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) began to admit mixed-race players to their teams that they “picked the sweet fruit” when they reached the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Women’s Cup. For the first time, he won the right to host the 2022 event and advanced to the championship.

On the evening of July 17, the Philippines (right) beat Thailand 3-0 in the final, much thicker in height and physique. Photo: AFF

On the evening of July 17, the Philippines (right) beat Thailand 3-0 in the final, much thicker in height and physique. picture: AFF

The use of mixed players is not new to Philippine footballS. The men’s team has been using this strategy for over 10 years. The PFF not only recalled mixed-race players, but also naturalized non-Filipino players. Their teams often mix pure, mixed and naturalized players. The strategy was deemed unsuccessful as the Philippines had never reached the AFC Cup final.

Learning from this, PFF used an entire lineup of Western-born schoolgirls. They are educated and trained in the No. 1 football in the world, with better training and nutrition courses than in Southeast Asia. Although only playing for American universities, coach Stajic’s army still has a better foundation than its Southeast Asian counterparts. Because the NCAA Tournament is where promising young players are picked for teams in this country.

Moreover, the difference in the level of women’s football is much more significant than that of men. Vietnam, for example, is ranked 32nd in FIFA, which is always far behind a team like South Korea at 18th. The gap between the 32nd Czech men’s team and the 18th Senegalese team is not significant. That means the current gap between the U.S. women’s soccer team and Vietnam or Thailand is too big.

Salina Bolden wins the 2022 AFF Women’s Cup top scorer with 8 goals, 1 more than Nhu Wong. In the two semi-finals and finals, Bolden scored three goals, making a huge contribution to the recent results of the Philippines. The 26-year-old forward was with the U.S. U23 team while playing for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Bolden is 1.73 meters tall, while Thu Thuong, the tallest player in Vietnam, is only 1.68 meters tall. There are still 7 Filipino players with a height of 1.70 meters or more, not to mention 10 people who do not have this parameter.

Captain Tanay Annis, who was also born in the United States like Bolden, has played in the Women’s Champions League. Many other players are also playing for the top flight of women’s football clubs in powerhouses such as Sweden, Norway or Japan.These players have a better foundation than teachers and students Mai Dezhong. Over the course of many parties, they grow stronger as they learn more about each other’s playstyles.

Stajcic’s students are half Filipino, and they play like pure African teammates. Midfielder Maya Alcantara said: “We are Americans and Filipinos and we grew up in the same culture and environment. We see each other as family and do everything we can to support each other. One of the most important things in Filipino culture is family, We do everything for them.”

Before the 2022 AFC women’s football semi-finals, the Philippine women’s football team lost 15 games to Vietnam. Among them, they scored 5 goals and conceded 73 goals. The last time the two teams met was in the group stage of the Southeast Asian Games on 31 May 2022.Under pressure from more than 16,000 Cam Pha viewers, Philippines still remains despite progress Lost 1-2 to Vietnam. But when the two teams reunited at the Rizal Memorial on July 15, Philippines wins 4-0 at home“Vietnam is the strongest country in Southeast Asia, but the Philippines definitely deserves to win. This is a milestone for Philippine football,” he said after beating Vietnam.

Striker Bolden (right) finishes before centre-back Chuong Thi Kieu intercepts during the semi-final in Manila, Philippines on July 15. Photo: PFF

Striker Bolden (right) finishes before centre-back Chuong Thi Kieu intercepts during the semi-final in Manila, Philippines on July 15. picture: PFF

In addition to the professional factor, the support of domestic audiences has also helped the Philippines thrive. When they beat Thailand, more than 8,000 Filipino fans came to watch the final. “It’s difficult to play to the cheers of the opposing crowd, as we experienced at the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam,” Bolden said after his victory on the evening of July 17. “But when we get cheers from the crowd, we feel more excited and excited. The fans help the team a lot.”

The strategy of attracting mixed-race players can be seen as “building a house on a roof”, but Filipinos don’t see it that way. Head coach Stajic said the Philippines’ successes, such as reaching the final round of the 2023 World Cup or winning the 2022 AFC Cup, are the driving force behind more interest in football there. “When the Australian men’s team returned to the 2006 World Cup, the country’s interest in football skyrocketed,” said the coach, who once led the Australian women’s team. “We hope this will happen again in the Philippines.”

During the Women’s AFC Cup from July 4th to July 17th, account Facebook The number of likes for the Filipino women’s team increased from 44,896 to 64,784, equivalent to 44%. The national men’s team’s account has 72,445 likes. In the near future, Filipino women’s football may be more interested than men’s, especially when they play in the 2023 World Cup.

In any case, the success of the Philippines has been well received by the people. The comments on this team’s fan page are all “proud”.