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PFF hands keys to Stajcic to develop Filipinas youth teams

Amidst leading the Philippine Women’s National Football Team to unprecedented heights, coaches Alen Stajcic and Nahuel Arrarte are hoping to have their success trickle down to the younger age groups.

In a press conference on Wednesday at the Acacia Hotel in Muntinlupa, the duo shed light on the fact that they will take on head coaching duties for the national U20 and U17 teams this year.

It has been a dream for Filipino sports fans to see progress in grassroots development for young athletes and the Filipinas program is looking to fulfill this dream.

It’s almost come to the point where when I reflect that the pathways within this country are almost gonna have to be developed upside down, from the senior national team down rather than traditionally from grassroots to the next level to the next level to getting into youth national teams to the senior national team,” said Stajcic, who will take charge of the U17 squad that will compete in the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 qualifiers on 22-30 April 2023 in Guam.

“You know when you look forward past the gaze of the World Cup in six months, I think as an organization and as a country, you have to look at what you’re doing and what you’re putting in place for future generations,” he continued. “The example that I use is Japan. They’re one of our closest neighbors but when they stuck together and set a plan and unified a plan together as a country, they went from zero to world champions in women’s football within 10 years, within 15 years.

“It didn’t happen in 10 minutes but it also didn’t take them 100 years. We saw their men’s team beat Germany in the recent men’s World Cup… For me, if a country like Japan can do it, why not the Philippines? There’s no special human qualities within Japan that don’t exist within the Philippines, that don’t exist within other countries.”

Both coaches recently held tryouts last 20-22 January 2023 at Dignity Health Sports Park in California, USA, where over 100 hopefuls showed up to demonstrate their talents. They will then conduct tryouts on 26 January 2023 at the PFF National Training Center.

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Other tryouts will be held on 27 January 2023 at the Tionko Football Field in Davao City and on 28 January 2023 at the Dynamic HERB Sports Complex in Talisay, Cebu.

Stajcic and Arrarte not only hope to develop the next players who will suit up for the national team down the line. They shall also do their best to train local coaches, who will be their assistants, and upskill them.

Just like Stajcic, Arrarte will have his own international campaign to worry about. He will take charge of the U20 team in the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2024 qualifiers scheduled for 04-12 March 2023 in Laos.

“Obviously, it’s something I haven’t really thought about as a major change in what we’re doing,” said Arrarte.

“The whole idea of this project is to align as much as possible. Obviously, I am myself… We are very similar but very different in different ways. Obviously, I’m going to have to make decisions because he’s not gonna be there.”

While expectations are high and there is hope that the U20 and U17 teams will be able to attain instant achievements, both guys have the long-term view in mind.

The only way to go is up and they will work hard to bring more success to Philippine football.

“I hope that this can be a stimulating moment for the country to start putting some things in place that can change the game, change society, and change women’s football and men’s football in this country.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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