The Philippine Football Federation has appointed Marnelli “Let” Dimzon as the head coach of the Philippine women’s national football team, ahead of the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.
Dimzon, 37, last handled girls’ youth teams for the PFF, most recently the U-16 team that competed in AFC Qualifiers last year, and most notably the historic U-14 team that won AFC Regional Championship silver in 2014. She also heads the Far Eastern University women’s football team, which has won four UAAP titles under her watch.
“Mas malaki yung challenge para sa coach na hawakan yung senior team,” Dimzon said of the difference in handling the top women’s team that represents the country.
“Yung pressure kung iko-compare natin sa youth malaki pa rin chances natin dahil hindi pa nagkakalayoan ng level sa ibang bansa pero pagdating sa senior, dahil sa dami ng exposure ng iba tulad ng Thailand dun tayo naiiwan.”
Dimzon also pointed out that the current program for the women’s national team is still lacking compared to other nations that compete in regular international friendlies and have more extensive plans in terms of preparation for tournaments. Yet she thinks that the team can manage for the time being with the current setup.
“With the quality of players that we have, kaya naman. Pero ang laging magiging question dun is yung experience at yung understanding ng players,” she cautioned.
According to the PFF, Dimzon recently attended a coaching seminar in China. The women’s coaching tutors course is the first of its kind, offered by the Asian Football Confederation, which aims to promote female coaches to bigger and more influential roles in football.
Dimzon is grateful for the opportunity, and notes that the course will help her with her new role as the head coach of the senior women’s team.
“My responsibility is now greater, makakatulong yung course sa pag-improve ng coaching ko para sa SEA Games. Sa pag-organize, kung paano ipapasok ang training contents mo, kung paano yung pace at intensity sa training,” Dimzon shared.
The Philippines is set to compete against Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam — a strong field resulting from a reduced number of teams participating in the women’s football event. Dimzon aims to reach the top three in order for a podium finish to be likely.
The team has already been training for over a month, with the remaining call-ups from overseas expected to join soon, and Dimzon already likes what she sees.
“Sa ngayon medyo nasa-satisfy na lalo nang halos kumpleto na yung team. Medyo effective na rin yung attacking play. Kailangan nalang talaga ayusin yung build-up ng depensa kasi nagkakaroon pa sila ng confusion,” she added.
Should the games start today, Dimzon says that the team isn’t ready yet.
“Siguro mga nasa fifty o sixty percent palang. Sa fitness, kulang pa! Yun yung hinahabol namin ngayon kaya every week mayroon kaming conditioning training.”