With the rise of women’s football not only internationally but also locally, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will hold the 2nd Women’s Invitational Cup starting Sunday, August 9.
The tournament will feature ten club teams with the brightest stars from the collegiate ranks and, as well as, National Team members. The club teams that will play in the invitational are the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles, Chelsea FC SS Ladies, De La Salle Lady Archers, Green Archers United, Far Eastern University FC, Lady Tamaraw FC, University of the Philippines Lady Maroons-X, University of the Philippines Lady Maroons-Y, University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, and Sikat FC.
In a draw held Wednesday morning at the PFF House of Football, the ten teams were split into two divisions using a lottery draw. In the interest of fairness, the two teams fielded by Far Eastern University and the University of the Philippines were split into the two groups. The groupings are as follows:
|GROUP A||Group B|
|Far Eastern University FC||Chelsea Football Club Soccer School Ladies|
|Green Archers United||De La Salle University Lady Archers|
|Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles||University of the Philippines Lady Maroons – X|
|University of the Philippines Lady Maroons – Y||Lady Tamaraw Football Club|
|Sikat Football Club||University of Santo Tomas Tigresses|
The teams were on hand during the lottery and were represented by ADMU captain Camille Rodriguez, FEU head coach Let Dimzon, Sikat FC manager/captain Amanda Fernandez, GAU captain Haiya Ibarra, UP-X captain Nat Nisce, UP-Y team captain Aira Agustin, UST team captain Chanda Solite, Chelsea coach Roberto Cabural, and Lady Tamaraw head coach Glaiza Artus. In addition, PFF President Mariano Araneta, Secretary-General Atty. Ed Gastanes, competitions department head Cyril Dofitas, tournament director Ernie Nierras, and guest of honor Senator Pia Cayetano were on hand.
Compared to last year’s format of nine-aside football, this year’s will be a full-on 11-aside football that is the standard for all international tournaments. Moreover, the tournament is going to be held in various turfs in the Metro including the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, the McKinley Stadium in Taguig City, FEU-Diliman pitch in Quezon City, and the newly opened Alonte Field in Biñan, Laguna.
“This is a decades worth of commitment by the PFF. During the term of President Nonong Araneta, he has made a commitment to women’s football,” Stallion head coach and tournament director Ernie Nierras said about the state of women’s football. “We are hoping that the UFL teams will start building their own teams.”
Moreover, the tournament will also help the development of the players according to Nierras. “The more games they play, the better they’ll be. Like I said, there is an expectation for the club teams to perform better.” The league is also opening its doors for the Filipino-foreigners to come home and play. “For the Filipino-foreigners who played for the national team or are planning to tryout, this will be an opportunity for them. Now that we started it, we got a lot of inquiries who wanted to come and play. We’ll see what we can do and build on it,” he added.
The tournament will open on Sunday, August 9 at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila City with the following fixtures:
08:00 Group A: Far Eastern University FC vs. Green Archers United
10:00 Group B: Chelsea FC SS Ladies vs. De La Salle University Lady Archers
12:00 Group A: Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles vs. University of the Philippines Lady Maroons – Y
14:00 Group B: University of the Philippines Lady Maroons – X vs. Lady Tamaraw FC
Other game dates are scheduled to be on August 16, August 23, August 30, and September 6. The playoffs will start on September 13 while the finals will be held on September 20.