Philippine women’s national football team head coach Alen Stajcic breached a career milestone as the Filipinas punched their ticket to the second round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament last Tuesday in Tajikistan.
This as the Filipinas’ final Group E assignment against Hong Kong was the Aussie mentor’s 100th match coached in his career and 36th with the Filipinas.
Previously coaching Australia’s Matildas, Stajcic relished going full circle as the Filipinas beat Hong Kong, 4-nil, to move on to the next round.
“My first match as a head coach was an interim match against Hong Kong in 2007 and the 100th is against Hong Kong again in an Olympic Games qualifier again which is really remarkable,” Stajcic said.
“I’m really pleased that we won, I’m really pleased that we got through, I’m really pleased that we performed well as a group,” he added.
Under Stajcic’s watchful eye, the Filipinas booked a historic slot to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. They also won their first bronze medal in the Southeast Asian Games since the 1980s.
In July 2022, the team also won the country’s first championship in football when they won the AFF Women’s Championship in Manila.
Still, the Australian coach believes there is much more to improve on the team’s overall performance.
As the World Cup looms, Stajcic wants to have better finishing from his wards. Against Hong Kong, there were multiple missed chances at the front of goal.
With higher-ranked teams looming in the second round of qualifiers, and in the World Cup itself, Stajcic plans to work his girls to a better game plan.
“We can do a little bit better is execution in the penalty box. I thought we left a few goals out there. To really go to that next level, we need to be better,” he said.
Up next for the Filipinas will be the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia next month.
Source : Phil Star Global