Winning nat’l football team member has Benguet roots
Filipinos celebrated the historic win of the Philippine Women’s National Football Team or Filipinas, ruling for the first time in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship against Thailand, 3-0, on July 17 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Local football fans were all the more delighted to know that one of the 11 members of the Filipinas traces her roots to Buguias, Benguet.
Midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki in jersey 4 was praised by football fans for her strength and efficiency in maneuvering and protecting the ball, passing it on the waiting forward, despite the tight defense of her foes throughout their AFF campaign.
Sawicki was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada with her mother Mina Olting Demis Sawicki from Cabuguiasan, Natubleng, Buguias and Polish father, Watsic Sawicki.
In a social media post, the provincial government hailed Sawicki and the Filipinas for the historic win.
It was a display of great strategy and team work by Filipinas led by head coach Alen Stajcic when it beat the Southeast Asian powerhouse and four-time AFF winner Thailand and reigning Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Vietnam.
The first goal of the finals game, which saw a full-packed Rizal stadium of eager Filipino fans, was courtesy of a header from Jessika Cowart in the eight-minute mark of the game.
By the 21st minute of the first half, Katrina Guillou drilled the goal via a close-range shot and by the second half, it was Sabrina Bolden’s header that sealed the sweet victory for the team.
The team is now bent on eyeing the buildup leading to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup slated in Australia and New Zealand August next year.
The team would go against world heavyweights like United States, Sweden, France, Canada, and Spain in its first FIFA World Cup ever after qualifying January this year.
The Filipinas defeated Chinese Taipei on penalties, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Cup. They were then outscored by South Korea in its February game, 2-0. After the historic match against Thailand, the Filipinas now has raised its FIFA rankings to 53 from last year’s 64 as the best ranked team in the world. – Ofelia C. Empian