Two professional Filipina booters playing in Japan will soon rejoin the Philippine Malditas national women’s football team.
Quinley Quezada, who became the first Filipina to play the first fully-professional women’s soccer league in Japan, will be coming back to play for the Malditas with Sarina Bolden.
Both will be available when the Malditas compete in the tournament proper of the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup 2022 in India this January.
National coach Marlon Maro confirmed their availability on Tuesday, saying he is set to have a series of meetings with the two players by Wednesday.
“Tomorrow, we have a meeting with Quinley and Bolden, the two players in the Japanese pro league, for their availability. I think it’s a go for them,” said Maro during the weekly online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
Quezada, who plays for club team JEF United Chiba in the 2021-2022 Women’s Empower League in Japan, was with the Malditas when they trained in Irvine, California last August, along with Bolden.
But the two did not join the Malditas when they went to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to take part in the Group E qualifiers last month because of the prolonged isolation period as part of the strict COVID-19 protocols that they needed to go through.
“Hindi na sila nakarating sa Uzbekistan kasi pagpasok pa lang sa Japan, 14 days na ang quarantine. Paglabas nila sa Uzbekistan, another 14 days pagbalik,” said Maro.
Maro said their respective clubs have already agreed to release them before the start of the Asian Cup and by then, the WE League season would have been over.
Last Saturday, Quezada played as a substitute for club team JEF United Chiba, which absorbed a 0-3 setback to Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza, with around 1,281 fans watching at the Fukuda Denshi Arena.
On the other hand, Bolden is now with Chifure AS Elfen Saitama, which also absorbed a 0-3 beating from MyNavi Sendai, at the Kumagaya Athletic Stadium in Saitama, Japan.
Bolden will make her debut this weekend when her team meets Nojima Stella on October 10 at 1 p.m., Manila time.
Maro said he is making arrangements for the Malditas to train together as a team in the United States and the Philippine Football Federation is now seeking the assistance of the US Soccer Federation on the visas of other team members.
Last month, the Malditas repulsed Hong Kong, 2-1, to claim the top spot in Group F and become one of the 12 teams, which will be in the India 2022 event.
The Malditas will also have a chance of making qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
India, as the host country, and the top three teams of the previous tournament in 2018, are automatically qualified, with the entry of the other eight teams to be decided during Asian tournament.