The Philippine national women’s football team is all set to join qualifying matches for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The world no. 53-ranked Filipinas will get to find out who they are up against when the official draw is held Thursday at the Asian Football Confederation House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Filipinas have been placed in Pot 1 in the draw together with Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, and India.
The first round of the qualifiers will have 26 teams that will be divided into five groups of four.
There will also be two of groups of three that will be in a one-round league format that will be done in a centralized venue from April 3 to 11.
“We’ve raised the expectations of the country, which is fantastic. We’ve raised the expectations of the playing group, which is even better now. It’s about the players competing not just for the country, but competing for spots, increasing the depth and the flexibility,” said Filipinas’ coach Allen Stajcic.
Only the top teams from the seven groups will advance to the next round.
The advancing squads will join the five highest-seeded teams composed of North Korea, Japan, Australia, China PR, and Korea Republic.
From the 12 teams in the second round, only the three group winners and the best second placer will move on to the home-and-away playoff matches for the two spots to the Olympics.
The seeds for the first-round draw are based on the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking released on December 9, 2022.
The last time around, the Philippines made it to the second round of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But the Filipinas, known before as the Malditas then, fell out of contention with their loss to Chinese Taipei.
The Filipinas are supported by team manager Jefferson Cheng, the Philippine Sports Commission and the MVP Sports Foundation. Peter Atencio