Cheng steps down as manager of PHL women’s football team

Cheng steps down as manager of PHL women’s football team

Cheng steps down as manager of PHL women’s football team

BUSINESSMAN JEFFERSON CHENG, a key piece of the recent success of the Philippine women’s football team program, has stepped down as team manager of the Filipinas.

Mr. Cheng, the Filipinas’ chief backer and manager in their rise from minnows to a FIFA Women’s World Cup competitor, cited differences in priorities and goals with unnamed parties, presumably the current Philippine Football Federation leadership, as primary reason.

“For several months, we tried our best to make things work, under new and very different circumstances. Unfortunately, the situation is not workable,” Mr. Cheng said in a statement on Sunday.

“Our priorities and goals do not align, and the PWNT (Filipinas) organization that we worked hard to develop in the past years is incompatible with current methods,” he added.

Under Mr. Cheng’s management, the Filipinas made history after history on the international stage.

The Pinay booters, boosted by the entry of topnotch recruits and regular high-level training camps and tournaments overseas, reached the semis of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India, which served as their ticket to the following year’s Women’s World Cup (WC).

A few months later, they netted a bronze medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam — the country’s first football medal in the Games since 1985 — then followed it up with a milestone gold in the Asean Football Federation Women’s Championship on home soil.

They reached the pinnacle of success by scoring a historic 1-0 upset of host New Zealand in their WC debut in 2023.

“I want to thank all of you for the support and kindness that you have shown me. It is through you that our efforts have not gone unnoticed and I am grateful to have shared some of the best football experiences with all of you,” said Mr. Cheng.

It’s not immediately known whether Marc Torcaso, whom Mr. Cheng hired after the departure of the team’s World Cup mentor Alen Stajcic, will continue to coach the Filipinas following his departure. — Olmin Leyba

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