PWFT vets agree bringing in new players beneficial for team's growth

Katrina Guillou is among six new players in the Philippine Women's Football Team's senior squad.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The Philippine Women's Football Team continues to evolve as a historic stint in the FIFA Women's World Cup is now within reach.

This year, the team formerly known as the Malditas has brought in six new players, two of which coming from the youth level.

Keanne Alamo last played for the under-16 team in 2019, while Carleigh Frilles joined the under-14 squad in 2016.

The other four players, namely Kiara Fontanilla, Dominique Randle, Isabela Flanigan, and Katrina Guillou, are set to enter their first ever tournament representing the Three Stars and a Sun.

Guillou's inclusion got the attention of many football fans as she is playing in Sweden's top division.

On the other hand, Fontanilla, Randle, and Flanigan are playing college soccer in the United States, and the Philippine team holding its training camp there made it more accessible for the three to enter the fold.

According to veterans Chandler McDaniel and Anicka CastaƱeda, having the senior team newcomers in basically secured the future of the women's football program.

"It's really good to get some new faces in because it will help grow the program. If more girls keep coming in, we can continue to get better," McDaniel said in an online press conference on Tuesday.

"They're all good like they know what they're doing and they've been contributing a lot to the team, which I'm really grateful for," added CastaƱeda.

The national team is now enjoying its highest placing in the FIFA rankings at 64th in the world and 13th in Asia, and it could even go higher depending on its performance in the AFC Women's Asian Cup starting this Friday in Mumbai.

According to McDaniel, it would depend on how the six rookies would fare for the Philippine team in a tough group that includes world no. 11 Australia, no. 38 Thailand, and no. 94 Indonesia.

"All the new girls who came in, whether they've been in the program before or not, are going to contribute to how much better we do this tournament," she further said.

The Philippine team will first face Thailand on Friday night as it looks to score its very first win against its Southeast Asian neighbor.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno