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Filipino-Australian Touch Football Team Set to Make Waves at the World Cup

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In a world where national identity can feel complex, a dynamic team of Filipino-Australian touch football players is showing how sport can unite people across borders.

This talented group, an Open Mixed team made up of 14 young players aged 15 to 22 and two veterans, is preparing to represent the Philippines at the Touch Football World Cup in Nottingham, England, from July 15-21, 2024.

The players, whose passion for the game and unique cultural blend shines on the field, have captured the hearts and minds of fans both locally and abroad.

The Journey So Far

The team’s story began with an underdog victory at the Asia Pacific Youth Touch competition in May 2023. Against all odds, the Filipino team triumphed over New Zealand in a dramatic drop-off, winning 8-7. They went on to face Australia’s powerhouse team in the grand final, losing on paper but winning in spirit and pride. The victory resonated far beyond the match, as it represented hope, courage, and tenacity, inspiring smaller nations like Samoa, Papua New Guinea, and Niue to dream big.

The Philippines team surprised World Touch at the 2023 Asia Pacific Youth Touch Cup (APYTC) as the only non-tier 1 nation to reach the grand finals. They are now combining these young players with their World Cup seasoned veterans to compete against 28 other nations in the Open Mixed division. This will be the biggest-ever open division pool at a World Cup.

The team’s triumph and story quickly made headlines, with social media buzzing about the remarkable feat. The momentous achievement marked the first time the Filipino national anthem was played on an international touch football stage, a powerful and emotional experience for the half-Filipino, half-Australian players. Their victory inspired countless Filipinos around the world and drew accolades from fans, community members, and the Filipino Touch Football Association in Manila.

The Next Big Challenge

Now, the team is gearing up for its biggest challenge yet: the 2024 World Cup in Nottingham. The journey will be both physically and financially demanding, and they need the support of the Filipino community and beyond to make it happen.

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Maine Maglantay-Fish, a co-manager of the team, emphasised the significance of the upcoming World Cup.

“The pride this team has brought to the Filipino community is immeasurable,” Maglantay-Fish said.

“We’re calling on everyone to support us in this new endeavour. Our GoFundMe campaign aims to cover the substantial costs of travelling to England, allowing these talented players to compete at the highest level,” she added.

At the 2019 World Cup, Coach John Beesley and Captain Mark Cecil established the team culture, achieving 6th place out of 20 nations in the Open Men division. A huge achievement given their resources. Defeating one of the ‘Big 2’ nations at APYTC shows their ability to compete globally with the top Touch Football players.

A Training Camp and Beyond

In preparation for the World Cup, the team will hold its final training camp in June in Brisbane, with hopes of building on their momentum and securing a top spot at the global competition. The camp will offer a valuable opportunity to see how the team works together, honing their skills under the guidance of head coach John Beesley, who believes in their potential to become World Cup champions.

“Their synergy and drive are unmatched,” Beesley stated. “This team has what it takes to make a mark on the world stage, and we’re ready to show the world what we’re capable of.”

Philippines Mixed Open Touch Football Team 2024

Supporting the Team

For this talented team, the path to the World Cup is both exhilarating and challenging. The financial burden is substantial, particularly with 14 of the 16 players either in university or high school. Community support through their fundraising campaign will be crucial to making this dream a reality. The Filipino community and sports enthusiasts alike are urged to rally behind this incredible group of athletes and support their journey to Nottingham.

To donate and support this team, visit their fundraising campaign at GoFunndMe. Every contribution helps these dedicated athletes fulfil their potential and represent their cultural heritage on a global stage.

Ways to support the team:

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