After a glorious AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 campaign, Philippine Women’s National Football Team players and officials and Philippines Football Federation executives basked in the achievement of booking a FIFA World Cup 2023 ticket, Sunday afternoon at the Seda Hotel in Bonifacio Global City.
Amidst all the euphoria, though, is the lingering question of the contract renewal of coach Alen Stajcic and his staff.
With all eyes on the World Cup next year hosted by Australia and New Zealand, everyone is hopeful that talks will go well enough so that the 48-year-old coach’s services will be extended.
“I have spoken to Coach Alen and we are scheduled to meet up in a couple of weeks,” said team manager Jeff Cheng.
“Until then, hoping it’s good news too.”
Retaining Stajcic and his staff is key as the Filipinas will also compete in the SEA Games this year in Vietnam; the AFF Women’s Championship on home soil; and the Asian Games in China.
While there is one eye on the World Cup already, expectations are now higher for those competitions.
“I can tell you that even before the last match, President Nonong Araneta, and I, and Jeff are already talking about how do we go about asking coach Alen and his crew to continue coaching the team,” said PFF General Secretary Atty. Ed Gastanes.
“Coach Alen needs a two-week break and I’m sure talks have been started. We’ll hear from our point man there, Jeff Cheng, very soon.”
Also looking at renewal are Australian assistant coach Nahuel Arrarte, French goalkeeping coach Ludovic Antunes, and Italian strength and conditioning coach Luca Tonetti.
With quite a few things that need discussions behind closed doors and away from the public eye, it should come as no surprise that Stajcic is also keeping mum about the latest developments.
These things take time and hopefully, there shall be a positive development for the Philippines’ sake down the line.
“I think everyone [has] answered the question already, so we’ll finish those negotiations in the next week or two. And that’s what we’ve agreed to do, so I’ve got nothing further to add other than that,” said the man at the forefront of the Philippine women’s football revolution.