Members of the Philippine national women’s football team are “devastated” after failing to advance past the group stages of the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship in Vietnam, according to Malditas coach Ernie Nierras.
The team dropped its first two assignments against Myanmar and Vietnam before rebounding against Singapore. But only the top two teams in each group advanced to the semifinals, leaving the Malditas out of the picture.
“We are devastated,” Nierras said. “The team knows we could have beaten both teams if not for our mistakes.”
The team had high hopes for the competition after forming what it called its strongest lineup ever. Nierras was hoping to see the team make a run all the way to the finals of the tournament.
But he saw some silver lining for the Malditas’ performance this year, saying that the team gave Vietnam and Myanmar, two teams which he believe will go all the way to the finals, a tough fight in their matches.
“We’ve earned the respect of both Vietnam and Myanmar,” Nierras said. “Both teams went overseas to train for the AFF.”
Nierras also believes that the Malditas played better this year compared to the previous editions of the tournament. He pointed out that the team scored nine goals this year — triple the number they made last year.
“We know we have to work on a lot of things to improve our performance, but we are on the right track,” Nierras said.
Nierras also hopes that the team will be able to lure more supporters to help it develop.
“The Malditas need a lot of support so that we can progress,” Nierras said. “Hopefully, people will recognize what we have done here.”
The Malditas will next see action in the 2012 LA Viking Cup in Fullerton, California in November, which will feature women’s national teams of Canada, Haiti and New Zealand, as well as Women’s Premier Soccer League squad LA Vikings.