The Philippine Women’s National Football Team is going all-out as its campaign in the Asian qualifiers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Football Tournament begins.
The first round will take place in the chilly conditions of Hisor, Tajikistan, where the Pinays will jockey for berths against four other teams in Group A. Two teams will advance to the second round which will take place in April of next year.
The Philippines play Singapore first at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, November 4. The Pinays will face the hosts next on Thursday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m. Then on Sunday, November 11, they meet Mongolia at 4:00 p.m. before closing out against Chinese Taipei, the toughest team of the group, on Tuesday, November 13 at 4:00 p.m. (All times are in Philippine standard time.)
Let Dimzon, who was chosen to lead the team competing in its first ever Olympic qualifiers, has come up with a 20-strong squad that has been training together in the past two months while also attending to club duties in the PFF Women’s League.
Six mainstays who competed in Jordan for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 will return, namely: team captain Patrice Impelido (Hiraya FC), Inna Palacios (Green Archers United FC), Sara Castañeda (De La Salle University), Hali Long (Green Archers United FC), Alesa Dolino (OutKast FC), and Camille Rodriguez (Hiraya FC).
Another six that featured in the AFF Women’s Championship last June are included, they are: Kyla Inquig (Green Archers United FC), Irish Navaja (De La Salle University), Patricia Tomanon, Charisa Lemoran (University of Sto. Tomas), Alisha Del Campo (De La Salle University), and Nicole Reyes (University of Sto. Tomas).
Dimzon has also tapped fresh UAAP talent to help bolster the squad. Among those making their first appearances for the senior team are: Shelah Mae Cadag, Hazel Lustan, Ivy Lopez from the University of Sto. Tomas; Martie Bautista from Ateneo de Manila University; and Hannah Faith Pachejo and Kimberly Pariña from Far Eastern University.
Completing the team are OutKast FC members Mea Bernal who last suited up in last year’s SEA Games, and Analou Amita whose last cap was in the AFF Women’s Championship 2015.
Making up Dimzon’s coaching staff are Gerard Orcullo and Melo Sabacan, with UST’s Aging Rubio serving as team trainer.