Stajcic Coach Alen Stajcic has parted ways with the Philippines. PFF photo

Stajcic to “explore other opportunities”

August 1, 2023 Theodore P. Jurado 260 views

ALEN Stajcic, the architect of the Philippines’ unforgettable first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance, will not be renewing with the national team as the Australian coach, together with his assistant Nahuel Arrarte will “explore other opportunities.”

Filipinas team manager Jeff Cheng made the announcement yesterday morning.

“To Coach Alen and Coach Naz, it was an honor working with you. Win, lose or draw, the entirety of our experience with you will be nothing but a happy memory for all of us. We will never forget you and we hope that you will never forget us too,” said the Davao-based magnate Cheng.

Stajcic took over from Marlon Maro back in October 2021, a high-profile signing as he was controversially released by the Football Federation Australia a couple of years prior.

“I would first and foremost like to express my gratitude to Sir Jeff for giving us the opportunity and entrusting us with the keys to the National Team,” said Stajcic.

“Throughout nearly 20 months we went on a journey together as a team from outsiders in Southeast Asia to winning a match at a World Cup.”

The Philippines broke barriers under Stajcic.

The Filipinas made it to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup semifinals in January 2022, and earned a bronze medal in the 31st Hanoi Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippines won the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship on home soil.

The highlight of Stajcic’s tenure was the Filipinas’ World Cup debut, where the team was very much in contention to reach the Round of 16 until the last day of Group A play.

“Beating New Zealand on home soil and scoring our first World Cup goal and getting our first win was the things that dreams are made of,” said Stajcic.

“And despite the scoreline, the last match against Norway, where 34,000 patrons attended, with 30,000 singing for the Filipinas, brought shivers down our spine,” he addued.

“It showed that Football does belong in the Philippines, and that legacy is something we are all proud of.”

The contracts of the coaching staff ended after the Philippines’ 0-6 loss to Norway last Sunday.

Stajcic has been heavily linked with A-League men’s club Perth Glory job by Australian media.

He is hoping that the seeds have been planted for the continued success of the Filipinas program.

“On behalf of Coach Nahuel and myself, we would like to thank all the Coaching staff for your hard work, dedication and commitment. To the players, I can only say, you were courageous, passionate, disciplined and loyal to the Team, the Flag, and the Country. Your sacrifices should be long remembered by all Philippine Sports fans. To give hope and inspiration is the greatest of all achievements,” Stajcic said.

“I wish everyone a great future and look forward to following the next chapters in the story.”

The Filipinas will next compete in the Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in China in September and then the Olympic qualifiers in Australia. It remains to be seen who will be put in charge for the Philippines for both campaigns.

Most of the Filippinas are arriving this afternoon at 5 p.m. A total of 13 players are coming, while a few more will follow in the next two days.

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