Three Cebuana booters join PFF training camp for Philippine Women’s Nat’l Football U20 team
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Three Cebuana booters have been called up by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) to join the training camp of the Philippine Women’s National Football Team’s under-20 squad later this month.
This is in preparation for PFF’s upcoming campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup U20 in Uzbekistan 2024’s round one of its qualifying tournament.
It will be held next month in Vientiane, Laos.
These three outstanding Cebuana booters are Rae Mikella Tolentino, Jodi Marie Banzon, and Celina Beatrice Salazar.
According to Central Visayas Football Association (CVFA) President, Rodney Orale, these girls were selected during the PFF tryouts for its under-17 and under-20 teams in Cebu last Jan. 28, 2023, at the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex.
“Ang CVFA kay overwhelmed kaayo pagkahibawo nga naa tay three ka players nga nadala sa training camp. Nindot kaayo ilang gipakita maski unsa ka competitive ang tryouts. Kinahanglan man gyud mo excel kada usa sa ilaha atong tryouts,” said Orale.
(The CVFA is overwhelmed when they learned about the three players from the training camp, who were included in the team. They gave a good showing despite the tryouts being very competitive. Each of them needed to excel in our tryouts.)
No less than the Philippine Women’s National Football Team (PWNFT) head coach Alen Stajcic and team manager Jeff Ching observed the tryouts here in Cebu where Tolentino, Banzon, and Salazar competed.
They will join the rest of the players called up by the PFF for the training camp set on Feb. 24 to March 2, 2023 at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona, Cavite.
According to Orale, CVFA is also verifying if another Cebuana, Meagan Alforque, who is based in Manila has been selected to join the training camp. If it’s verified, Alforque is the fourth Cebuana to join the training camp.
This isn’t the first time these young Cebuana booters will don the country’s tri-colors after they also played for the PFF’s women’s under-18 squad last year in the ASEAN Football Federation U18 Women’s Championship 2022 in Palembang, Indonesia.
They exited the tournament after losing to Myanmar, 1-3.
The Philippines fell under Group A where they will play against China, Laos, and Hong Kong in the qualifiers.
“One month ilahang training camp. So, before pa ana, only 23 players of the 30 who were invited ang makaduwa sa national team. Pero, it doesn’t mean kadtong wala nadala, dili na mopadayon. Magtraining gihapon sila para sa future,” Orale said.
(Their training camp is one month. So, before that, only 23 players of the 30, who were invited will play for the national team. But, it doesn’t mean that those who were not chosen, cannot continue. They will still train for the future.)
He also said that PFF’s youth program had become more stringent after PFF assigned Stajcic as the national team’s girls under-17 head coach, while Nahuel Arrarte for the under-20 head coach. Both Stajcic and Arrarte oversee both teams as part of PFF’s youth team program.
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