Football

Malditas to face Japan U-23, ASEAN neighbors in AFF Women’s Championship

File photo courtesy of Ernie Nierras

File photo courtesy of Ernie Nierras

The Philippine national women’s football team will face a surprise opponent alongside its Southeast Asian neighbors in the 2013 ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship in September.

The Malditas will play the Under-23 squad of Asian football powerhouse Japan, host Myanmar, Laos and Indonesia in Group B of the competition.

Group A will also feature two surprise teams in Jordan, a participant of the 2014 Women’s Asian Cup, and powerhouse Australia, which will pit its Under-19 team. Also in the group are defending champion Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

The Malditas are coming off an impressive stint in the Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers last May, where they routed Iran and Bangladesh but fell short against Thailand in a loss which cost their chances of advancing to the tournament proper next year.

The Philippines has never gone past the group stages of the ASEAN Women’s Championship. Last year, the Malditas placed third in their group behind eventual finalists Vietnam and Myanmar.

Only the top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals of the ASEAN Women’s Championship, which will be played from September 9 to September 22 in Mandalay, Myanmar.

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