By Olmin Leyba
THE thunderous 1-0 stunner over fancied Australia won’t satiate host Philippines’ hunger for further growth and success as it continues its campaign in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship.
But the Filipinas do hope this amazing result should make countrymen hungrier to see them in action and start trooping to the 13,000-seater Rizal Memorial Stadium in droves from hereon.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup-qualified booters return to the Rizal’s pitch at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night against Singapore, raring to put their put foot forward in their second match in Group A before hopefully a full house.
“I think this team really deserves a sellout (crowd),” Philippine coach Alen Stajcic said. “We need to do everything we can to give this team the love they deserve.”
In front of a loud crowd of around 1,450 on Monday, Alen Stajcic’s troops took down the Australians with Sarina Bolden heading in the 60th-minute winner and keeper Olivia McDaniel leading a practically impenetrable defense.
It was a homecoming to remember for Ms. Bolden, whose last game on home ground was a numbing 2-1 defeat to Myanmar in the battle for the Southeast Asian Games bronze in the 2019.
“Last time we’re here, it was heartbreaking. Now, starting the tournament winning, that means so much to me and the girls,” said Ms. Bolden.
“We just want to continue to grow to get better because we have the World Cup coming up and we want to go as far as we can in this AFF tournament to better arm ourselves for the World Cup. We want to continue to keep winning, growing and getting better than the last time we played.”
The opening-day victory gave the Filipinas three points and +1 goal difference, level on points with leader Thailand, which scored a 4-0 romp over Indonesia in their kickoff game over at the Biñan Stadium. Malaysia and Singapore trail with one point apiece after their 0-0 draw on Monday.
The Thais, meanwhile, go for back to back as they tangle with the Aussies in Wednesday’s 4 p.m. curtain raiser.