By JONAS TERRADO
Eight players who suited up in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, returnees, former youth standouts and new additions will make up the national women’s team for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers which starts this week in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Co-captains Hali Long and Inna Palacios, Camille Rodriguez, Sara Castaneda, Alisha del Campo, Chelo Hodges, Tara Shelton and Patricia Tomanon lead the 22-player list for the two qualifying matches against Nepal on Saturday, Sept. 18 and Hong Kong on Friday, Sept. 24.
The eight players were part of the Philippine squad that placed fourth when the country hosted the 2019 SEAG edition.
Tahnai Annis, Jessica Miclat, and Ryley Bugay are also part of coach Marlon Maro’s squad as they’ll make their first Philippine stint since the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan while Arianna LePage and Isabelle Mapanao were previously part of the national youth team.
Also part of the roster are first-timers Olivia Davies-McDaniel and Chandler McDaniel, both based overseas, and Alyssa Ube from University of the Philippines.
The Philippines aims to top Group F in order to qualify to the continental tournament for the second straight time.
The 2022 Women’s Asian Cup, which will be hosted by India, also serves as a qualifier for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
In 2018, the country placed third in Group A after posting one win and two defeats, defeating Jordan and losing to China and Thailand, to earn a place in a Women’s World Cup playoff against South Korea where the lady booters lost 5-0.