Hali Long has added another achievement to her illustrious career. Long, who has made 80 international appearances with the Philippine Women’s National Football Team, helped Kaya-Iloilo keep a clean sheet in its 2023 PFF Women’s League final, winning 1-0 against Manila Digger last Saturday.
“They’re a tough competition,” said Long. “Their style of play could be a bit frustrating at times. So we just needed to be patient, and sometimes we weren’t as patient as we should have been, but a win is a win nonetheless.
“Obviously, we would have liked to score earlier, but they had good defense and good goalkeeping.”
The 5-foot-8 center-back has had a very eventful 2023. She competed in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 19th Asian Games, and the second round of the 2024 AFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Busy, but also blessed because not many people get to do this, and that’s what I say to all my teammates, national team (and) in here. It’s like not anyone gets to do this,” she said.
“We get to wear the flag, or we get to wear this fad, we get to represent, and now that Kaya has won the championship, we get to represent Kaya and we get to represent the Philippines, hopefully in (the) AFC Women’s (competition) next year. But yeah, super honored and super blessed to have this win at the end of the season.”
Without a doubt, Long is one of the stalwarts of Philippine football today. She has been a cornerstone in the country’s rise from the depths of international football to one of the top teams in Asia.
The 2022 AFF Women’s Championship winner accepts that she has a big role to play when it comes to developing football in the country. Because of this, she is determined to pay things forward for the present and future generations.
“It’s such a loaded, heavy question. I mean, it’s hard enough to answer. It’s a lot of responsibility, but I feel like it’s our duty,” she said.
“Whatever and wherever we learn tactics, technical, whoever we get coached by all around the world, or even here, it’s an honor, but also a responsibility to bring it back home because that’s what this country deserves, that’s what the league deserves, (and) that’s what my teammates deserve,” she added.
“I hope they would do the same for me wherever they learn, have their learnings, whether it’s their coach, their province, whatever. It’s all a learning process. But again, it comes with a big responsibility but also a huge honor.”