MANILA – The Philippine women's football team is on track to cruising past the first round of the Paris Olympic qualifiers this April.
The Filipinas, ranked 53rd in the world and 11th in Asia, have been placed in Pot 1 of the upcoming group draw on Thursday at the Asian Football Confederation headquarters in Kuala Lumpur along with Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and India.
In Pot 2 are Iran, Jordan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia while Pot 3 consists of Palestine, Singapore, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Tajikistan and Timor Leste.
The last pot, Pot 4, consists of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and the unranked squad Afghanistan.
With the FIFA Women's World Cup-bound Filipinas in Pot 1, they are expected to top the group they would end up in in the first round of the Olympic qualifiers from April 3-11.
The top team from each of the seven first-round groups will join outright second-round qualifiers North Korea, Japan, Australia, China, and South Korea in the next phase of the Road to Paris.
The 12 second-round teams will be divided into three groups of four, and the top team from each group plus the best second placer will dispute the two Olympic spots in two home-and-away playoff series.
The team formerly known by the moniker "Malditas" made it to the second round of the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers but failed to make the Final 4 after bowing to Chinese Taipei in their last match in the said round.
The Filipinas would get back at Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the AFC Women's Asian Cup to clinch their first appearance in the FIFA WWC. (PNA)