By NIKOLE JAVIER
The Philippine national women’s football team has already launched its build up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup and with it comes big financial demands.
With the Filipinas’ maiden World Cup appearance happening this July, the team is yet to receive necessary funding from the national government to sustain their preparation for “the hardest four weeks of their lives.”
“The support is there [from FIFA and AFC], but I still, you know, want some support from the government actually. Because up to now, well, even in our preparation we haven’t been getting the support that we need. So, hopefully, we get it soon,” said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Nonong Araneta during the New Zealand Embassy’s special pre-departure event for the Filipinas on Thursday night, June 8.
Araneta, a current member of the FIFA council has bared that the international football body has been extending help to the Philippine team in its preparation as well as the Asian Football Confederation.
Team manager and patron Jefferson Cheng has also been nothing but a solid support to the Filipinas’ bid in the World Cup.
Still, Araneta couldn’t help but see the disparity of the aid provided by the government between the Filipinas and Gilas Pilipinas who is set to compete in its own World Cup in August which the Philippines will be co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.
“Because to prepare for the Women’s World Cup is no joke. I think the budget for preparation is about $3 million. So, I hope the Philippine government, or I mean, the PSC can give us some funding for that also. Because as we know, they have given P1 billion to basketball as host,” said Araneta.
“But we have already qualified for the World Cup. So, I hope they’ll give, not more, but enough,” he added.
Though the PFF has already reached out to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) through Chairman Richard Bachman, both organizations have yet to settle on funding agreement.
The Philippine team is set out to camp in Australia this month for its weeks-long training which includes some friendly matches before flying to the battlefield that awaits them in New Zealand.
The Filipinas are bracketed in Group A along with Norway (No. 12), Switzerland (No. 20) and host nation New Zealand (No. 25).
The Nationals, though, will be leaning on the plethora of available materials they have on their opponents who are no World Cup pushovers.