|Call the Malditas "catalysts for inspiration" from now on says PFF governor Lawrence Fortun. AFC (file photo)|
MANILA--From having to play under the shadows of its much more hyped male counterpart, the Philippine women's football team has cemented an identity of its own by becoming the first Filipino squad to clinch a spot in the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Philippine Football Federation board of governors member Lawrence Fortun said on Monday that the Malditas' historic victory over Chinese Taipei earlier in the day in the AFC Women's Asian Cup quarterfinals in Pune, India should inspire everyone to invest further in women's and grassroots football
"Qualifying to the World Cup of women's football is a monumentally historic achievement. Our football heroines will henceforth be catalysts for inspiration among young Filipinas and for better changes in how grassroots and campus-based football are implemented," said Fortun, also the representative for the first district of Agusan Del Norte.
Despite not having a legitimate professional league for women's football, the Philippine team, mainly bolstered by past and present collegiate standouts from the Philippines and the United States, as well as pro players from Japan and Europe, is having a statement stint so far in the WAC, going 3-1 so far including upsets over Chinese Taipei and Thailand in terms of their FIFA rankings.
And Fortun has Coach Alen Stajcic and everyone working behind the scenes to thank.
"I congratulate the coaching team and team management on the many improvements they made to the preparations and some operational changes," Fortun added.
Fortun now hopes that the Malditas' feat would spark a revolution in the women's football scene in the country which could be bolstered by finally having a professional league just like the PFL in the men's division.
"I hope the Malditas' triumph will lead to the formation of more amateur and professional teams and to league tournaments for women," he further said.
He also thinks the national team's upcoming World Cup appearance next year in Australia and New Zealand should entice more sponsors to invest in the ladies.
"Definitely, the team will need more financial backing from private sponsors and sports science support from health care and fitness professionals," he concluded.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno