Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino joined the entire country in celebrating the historic achievement of the national women’s football team which booked a first-ever berth in the FIFA Women World Cup 2023.
“The POC congratulates our women’s football team for making world football history,” said Tolentino on Monday, hours after the Malditas beat Chinese Taipei, 4-3, in a penalty shootout at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India.
The victory also allowed the Malditas to advance to the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asia Cup, also a first by any Philippine team on the continental stage.
With the historic feat, Tolentino said Philippine sports have never been this successful.
“We won our first-ever Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last July—adding two silvers and one bronze—and then this in football,” Tolentino. “Filipino athletes have been leveling up and are putting the country prominently on the world sporting map.”
Tolentino also congratulated the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) for having accomplished what looked like an “impossible dream,” noting that we are not a football-loving nation.”
The PFF is headed by Mariano “Nonong” Araneta with lawyer Edwin Gastanes as secretary general.
“These two gentlemen of sports have painstakingly brought Philippine football up there, not to mention that they hold or held sensitive positions in the POC,” said Tolentino.
He was referring to Araneta who was chef de mission to the Tokyo Olympics where weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won gold and boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio clinched silvers and Eumir Felix Marcial bagged bronze last year.
“It’s a great achievement for our women’s national football team,” Araneta said. “All their sacrifices have paid off. They are proud to represent the Philippines. Para sa bayan!”
Gastanes, Tolentino’s secretary general at the POC, described the feat as a “historic milestone.”
“Another historic milestone for Philippine sports. Filipina booters showed strength, resilience and hard determination to win for the country and the sporting youth of the land in the AFC Women Asian Cup in India,” Gastanes said.
“The Philippine flag will fly high and proud in the FIFA Women World Cup 2023 Australia & New Zealand in July 2023,” Gastanes said. “Thank you to all those who believe on and support the team.” (PR)