|Alen Stajcic comes in to coach the Malditas.|
MANILA—The Philippine women's football team is going all-in in its bid to make the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The Philippine Football Federation is bringing in renowned Australian coach Alen Stajcic to coach the team more popularly known as the Malditas for the AFC Women's Asian Cup next year.
Stajcic, who will turn 48 on Nov. 3, led Australia's national team to two consecutive appearances in the FIFA WWC while also carrying the team to the Rio Olympic quarterfinals in 2016.
He was also nominated for the Best FIFA Women's Coach Award in 2018.
Stajcic last coached the Central Coast Mariners of the A-League before accepting the Malditas coaching offer.
“We are thrilled that Alen Stajcic has accepted the position to be the head coach of the Philippine Women’s National Team head coach,” said PFF president Nonong Araneta on Tuesday. “His appointment shows the commitment and determination of the PFF to give our women’s national team the best possible chance to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The top five teams in the AFC WAC will qualify for the FIFA WWC, and based on how the Philippine team performed in 2018 under Coach Let Dimzon, they have a fighting chance at making the WWC.
“We know that the Philippine Women’s Team has the capability to be one of the top teams in Asia at least” said Team Manager Jeff Cheng, who has been supporting the team since 2017. “We are all excited by the arrival of Coach Alen and we wish him all the best as we seek a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.”
Meanwhile, Marlon Maro, who led the Malditas to the WAC qualification earlier this year, will return to his post as PFF's head of coaching education but not without a word of gratitude from the higher-ups.
“We greatly appreciate the contribution of Coach Marlon in leading the team to qualification to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup,” added Araneta. “We see how Coach Maro is a vital stakeholder on the growth of the beautiful game in the country and his appointment as PFF Coaching Education head is testament to his already significant contributions and what he still can contribute to the country’s football development.”
The Malditas will begin their WAC buildup by holding tryouts and training camp in Irvine, California from Nov. 10-Jan. 15.
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