In the face of adversity, the Philippine U-14 Girls National Team brought home honor
Santino Honasan on Jun 07, 2016 07:28 PM
"During the championship, during the whole tournament, we had to overcome obstacles, but we built each other up based on our performance and positive comments to each other" - U-14 midfielder Katelyn Alexander
Through injuries and passport issues, and everything in between, the Philippine Under-14 Girls National Team went into the AFC Regional Championships in Vientiane, Laos and took home a silver medal after suffering their one and only loss to Thailand in the Finals.
The team got their well-deserved hero’s welcome, Tuesday afternoon when they were met by the media at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) House of Football Boardroom in Pasig City for a short press conference.
There, members of the team and the coaching staff were able to address questions from the media.
One of the more prevalent themes during the presser was how the team had to go through adversity, which included a few roster adjustments.
“There were so many obstacles, were weren’t able to bring everyone we were meant to, but everyone fought their way, everyone gave their best.” Assistant coach Belay Fernando said.
Midfielder Katelyn Alexander also touched on the situation, explaining that they went through the campaign missing two key members.
“Malina Hill was not able to attend the AFC Championships because of her knee, from a previous scrimmage. Also we had another keeper, Riza [Ugbaniel], she couldn’t attend because she had passport problems, and it was a really big obstacle because Malina was one of our really needed midfielders.”
Alexander added that it would’ve been a different story if Hill were able to join. “She would have made a difference because she’s an outstanding player. “
The absence of backup keeper Riza Ugbaniel also forced a change in the offensive lineup as well.
Still, through it all, the girls and the coaches went on an amazing run that will assistant coach Mariel Benitez told her players to “cherish.”
Not only did the tournament give them valuable experience and exposure, but according to Alexander, it also brought them closer together.
"The experience brought us steadliy closer as a family, not just as a team. During the championship, during the whole tournament, we had to overcome obstacles, but we built each other up based on our performance and positive comments to each other after, during, and before the games. "
As for the future of these Under-14 girls, it’s possible that we see them next year, but this time in the new Under-15 division, a direction that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is leaning towards, as revealed by PFF General Secretary Atty. Ed Gastanes.
“They already have a record, and one thing good is that the AFC President is thinking that the entry level competition will be Under-15, no longer Under-14. There’s a very good chance that we will have AFC Under-15 next year, it’s not yet final, but that’s the direction, and we have the material now.”
With a crop of players as talented as these girls who gave it their all in Vientiane, it looks like the future of Philippine women’s football is in good hands.
Check out the full Press Conference below!