Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024
Olivia McDaniel and Jessika Cowart Filipinas Philippines Women's World Cup

Olivia McDaniel and Jessika Cowart do an autograph signing during the Filipinas homecoming, on Thursday, Aug 3, 2023, at Adidas Brand Center in Makati City. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

The Philippine women’s football team is hoping it can carry the knowledge gained from the time under coach Alen Stajcic, who has moved with an Australian top division side after parting ways with the Filipinas in the aftermath of the Fifa Women’s World Cup exit.

“I think they left us off on a really good note and we have to build on our World Cup journey and build it into our next tournaments,” said defender Alicia Barker on Thursday when some members of the Filipinas took part in a meet-and-greet session with fans and media in Makati City.

Thursday saw Stajcic being named as the new coach of A-League men’s side Perth Glory, confirming rumors prior to the World Cup of him opting to go back home after steering the Filipinas to new heights.

Stajcic’s departure leaves the Filipinas with a big hole to fill with a few weeks left before they head to Hangzhou, China, for the Asian Games followed by the second round of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Australia.

Scramble for replacement

Alen Stajcic Philippines Women's World Cup

Former head coach Alen Stajcic and Sofia Harrison of Philippines celebrate after the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between New Zealand and Philippines on July 25, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. –Mathias Bergeld

Team management and the Philippine Football Federation are expected to scramble to find his successor, who’ll be in a difficult position of trying to match Stajcic’s resume.

“It’s kinda a sad moment because he has brought so much success to us and obviously, we [still] want him as our coach,” said Quinley Quezada.

Stajcic was hired to handle the Philippine side in late 2021 and guided the Filipinas to landmark feat after landmark feat.

But the World Cup was his biggest legacy, with the Filipinas showing that it didn’t come to New Zealand just to soak up the magnitude of the occasion.

“Alen has been a tremendous part of everything that we’ve done in the last 18 months,” said goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel. “We’re fortunate to have him and we wish him the best of luck in everything that he does in the future.”

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