New challenges await the Philippine national women’s football team after learning of their opponents in the qualifying matches for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The world no. 53 ranked Filipinas have been bracketed with Hong Kong, Tajikistan and Pakistan following an official draw held Thursday at the Asian Football Confederation House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Olympic qualifiers have presented itself to the Filipinas after they spent a year getting ready for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 later this year in Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s been a great year, we put it in our back pocket and be proud of our efforts and give ourselves a pat in the back because we really have achieved a great deal. But the reality is we know how much we have to work harder to climb up that mountain,” said Filipinas coach Allen Stajcic.
The first round of the Olympic qualifiers will involve two of groups of three that will be in a single-round league format, to be done in a centralized venue from April 3 to 11 for the Asian Football Confederation.
Only the top teams from the seven groups will advance to the next round.
The advancing squad will join the five highest-seeded teams composed 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.