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Filipinas heads to Costa Rica for training camp, two friendlies vs La Sele

The Philippine Women’s National Football Team will travel to Costa Rica in the next FIFA international window in October for a pair of friendly matches against the Costa Rica Women’s National Team.

The Filipinas are setting up camp in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose as they are slated to play La Sele at 7 p.m. on October 7 (9 a.m., October 8 in Manila) at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium.

The two teams meet again on October 11 to cap the Filipinas’ 11-day camp with kick off time and venue to be announced at a later date.

The player list for the camp, possible broadcast and livestream details for the matches will also be announced soon.

PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta welcomed the development, saying these are the types of matches that the Filipinas need in their buildup for the World Cup next year.

“We are pleased that the Filipinas are getting these type of matches as they continue their preparations for the World Cup,” said Araneta.

PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes thanked the Costa Rican Football Association for inviting the Filipinas for the friendly matches and for hosting the camp, which is an integral part of the preparation for the World Cup next year.

“We thank the Costa Rican Football Federation for their assistance and cooperation for making the camp and the matches possible at a time when World Cup-bound teams are also busy setting up camps and matches,” said Gastanes.

The trip to Costa Rica comes on the heels of the Filipinas’ two-week camp in California from the last week of August until September 6 when they played New Zealand in a friendly match at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, California.

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“The PWNT is fortunate to have a very supportive team manager in Jeff Cheng, who has been looking after the Filipinas in the buildup to the World Cup,” said Gastanes. “We appreciate Mr. Cheng’s continuous support to the Filipinas.”

Team manager Jeff Cheng, who has been at the helm of the PWNT program since the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, stressed the importance of having as many training camps as possible under coach Alen Stajcic and his staff.

“The team needs as much time together as the players’ schedules will allow, and the more competitive matches we play, the more team cohesion and chemistry will improve,” said Cheng.

He added, “We assure the Philippine football community that the whole PWNFT— management, coaching staff and plays alike—continues to do its best to train and prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year, and the PFF is committed to find ways for the team to get more matches against quality opponents.”

Costa Rica qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, after finishing in fourth place in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in Mexico last July. La Sele are No. 37 in the FIFA rankings, 16 spots ahead of the Filipinas.

Stajcic stressed the need for the Filipinas to play against higher-ranked nations and teams in different confederations as part of the preparations for the World Cup.

“The friendly matches against Costa Rica in October give us a chance to experience different styles of play after playing against New Zealand early this month,” said Stajcic.

“What’s important for us is to learn and build on these experiences which will be a huge factor in our World Cup campaign next year.”

Stajcic said the goal is to continue improving with the team waiting for the outcome of the official draw of the FIFA Women’s World Cup next month.

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“We improved a lot but there’s no doubt that expectations and goals are higher and we know how hard it is to keep climbing so we’re working hard trying to reset our goals to keep striving for more success,” said Stajcic.

“It’s just continued growth for us. We’re heading down the right track but definitely we’re not getting complacent on thinking this is enough. We want more.”

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