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Malditas set for Olympic qualifying debut

It will be a busy year for the Malditas as they are now debuting in the Olympic qualifiers later in the year. Mia Montayre/PFF
By Kevin Estrada

Looking to bounce back from their disastrous stint in the AFF tourney in Indonesia, the Philippines are set for their debut in the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With reigning Asian champions Japan already qualified as hosts, at stake are two spots in the 16-team squad in the quadrennial event where two-time Women's World Cup champions Germany are the reigning gold medalists.

The 73rd-ranked Malditas are drawn with Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Tajikistan and Mongolia in Group A of the first round which kicks off on November 4.

With Vietnam and Uzbekistan waiting in the second round, the Filipinas needed to finish at least third in the group in order to progress.

The five of the top six in the recently concluded Women's Asian Cup (with Japan's exception) awaits the trio second round group winners in the third phase wherein progression to the final qualifying round will only be made by winning or finishing as runners-up in each of the two groups.

While the first three rounds necessitate the use of fixed venues, the final round will be a crossover home-and-away type with the two winners join Nadeshiko in the main tournament.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada