Pakistan’s national women’s football team is set to make its first appearance at the Olympic qualifying tournament, with opponents from Central, Southeast and East Asia. Ranked the lowest in Group ‘E’, only the winners will progress to the next round. Pakistan will play Asian champions the Philippines in their opener, with the teams at opposite ends of the rankings. The Philippines won the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, qualifying for this year’s Women’s World Cup. Pakistan is missing England-based forward Nadia Khan, who is out after her documentation, including her Pakistan passport, was not completed with the Asian Football Confederation. Extensive training has taken place since the team broke its international drought at the SAFF Women’s Championship last year. The Philippines is the team to beat in the group, with Hong Kong and the tournament hosts also competing. Victories in Tajikistan will be important for the Philippines to build morale ahead of the World Cup. Hong Kong head coach Ricardo Rambo said the Philippines are favourites, having lost to them 2-1 in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2021, but they are not without a chance this time.

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By hassani

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