By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America
April 2, 2013
CORONA, Calif. – The Philippine women’s national football team returned to California for one last tune-up before kicking of their campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournament.
The Philippine Malditas drew with professional women’s soccer team Los Angeles Vikings, 4-4, in a scrimmage held during the Easter weekend.
“I just asked a few other players to come back, so I can see them again and the rest of the new players to come in. They did a pretty good job,” said Malditas coach Ernie Nierras.
Since last year, the Malditas have been traveling to the United States to look for players with Filipino descent in the high school, college and professional ranks and invite them to join the national team.
Among their recruits is former professional women’s player Jenny Hammond, whose grandmother is Filipino.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to go to the World Cup in Canada, and this is just the beginning of our journey,” said Hammond, who was scouted by the Malditas last November, when they won the Vikings Cup.
“We have to qualify at the AFC qualifiers and we have a lot of preparation until then, so I’m looking forward to going to the Philippines for camp,” she added.
The team will play in Bangladesh this May for a chance to qualify in the 2015 World Cup, which takes place in Canada.
Nierras currently has dozens of girls that he will continue to evaluate and work with in the Philippines in the coming weeks as they gear up for the AFC qualifiers.
The Malditas are currently ranked 83rd in the world, and the team’s members are excited for a chance to make history as they aim to be the first Philippine team to qualify for the World Cup.
“My expectations are high,” Nierras said. “We expect to go to the next round to the finals, wherein out of the eight teams, five will go to the World Cup.”
“My expectation is to top this group in Bangladesh, then go from there,” he added.
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