Can Malayan Tigresses qualify for the Women's World Cup?

KUALA LUMPUR: When will Malaysia qualify for the Women's World Cup? It seems unlikely that the Malayan Tigresses will do so anytime soon, as the Women's World Cup ends in Sydney on Sunday, with England and Spain playing in the final.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) has only recently started focusing on developing the women's game in the country under its Roadmap initiative.

The Malayan Tigresses were competitive in Southeast Asia from 1970 to 1990. However, Malaysia lost its status due to the lack of long-term development and the rise of other countries.

Malaysia, ranked No. 89 in the world, however, can still make progress provided the women's game is supported and developed.

Globally, the women's game is still developing, and Malaysia can make inroads if they start now.

Southeast Asia had the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand at the ongoing World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, but were ousted in the group stage. They were among the six teams that represented Asia, including Japan, South Korea and China.

National coach Soleen Al-Zoubi said there are no shortcuts in the women's game.

"If we are talking about the Women's World Cup, first, we must focus on qualifying for major youth tournaments such as the Youth World Cup.

"However, I see positive signs in Malaysia. The gap between Malaysia and their superior counterparts in Asia at the youth level is not significant."

Soleen said: "It was good to see three Southeast Asian teams in the World Cup, with the Philippines creating excitement by overcoming co-host New Zealand in the group stage.

"The win shows Asean countries can do well in the World Cup. It has given my players the motivation to achieve similar feats," said the Jordanian

"It is never too late to start developing the game. "The first step is to qualify for the Under-17 World Cup before aiming higher.

"If we focus on developing our young players over the next four years, we can expect to see significant progress and improvement. With the right training and support, they have the potential to reach new heights and achieve their goals on the field.

"Women's football is gaining momentum in the country. We have the National Women's League, which was launched this year, and the states are also hosting tournaments.

"More games will generate interest and improve the quality of players," she added.

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