PRESS RELEASE: New Zealand Embassy and Australian Embassy Send Off Filipinas for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

MAKATI CITY – On 8 June 2023, The New Zealand Embassy and the Australian Embassy came together to host a well-attended pre-departure event at the New Zealand Official Residence, as they bid farewell to Team Filipinas before their journey to Australia and New Zealand for the highly anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. 

The send-off event, graced by esteemed guests and dignitaries, was held in high spirits as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Tim Given from the New Zealand Embassy led the celebration. Joining him was the Australian Counsellor and Acting Deputy Head of Mission Thanh Le, who also conveyed a heartfelt message to the team, emphasising the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie that unites nations in the beautiful game of football. 

The event was honoured with the presence of distinguished personalities. The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Mariano Araneta addressed the attendees, expressing his pride in Filipinas and their dedication to the sport. Hali Long, Co-Captain of Filipinas, and Inna Palacios, Goalkeeper, added their words of encouragement, acknowledging the tremendous support from everyone present. 

A celebratory toast was proposed by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Tim Given, together with Australian Counsellor Thanh Le, symbolising the shared enthusiasm and support between New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines in this significant sporting event. 

The event also witnessed the presence of other members and officials from the Philippine Football Federation, Philippine Sports Commission, and the diplomatic corps. Among them were EU Ambassador H.E. Luc Veron, Argentinian Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ms. Andrea Repetti, and Norwegian Consul Mr. Frank Johansen, whose attendance showcased the international community’s interest in the tournament. 

The media also played a vital role in capturing the essence of the event, with members of the press joining to document the exciting send-off of Team Filipinas as they embark on their journey to face the Football Ferns in New Zealand on 25 July 2023.

The combined efforts of the New Zealand Embassy, Australian Embassy, and the Philippine Football Federation in organising this memorable send-off event have showcased the unwavering support and unity among nations in promoting women’s football and fostering strong bilateral ties through sports diplomacy. 

Team Filipinas Co-Captain Hali Long and Goalkeeper Inna Palacios (centre) with New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Tim Given (right) and Australian Counsellor and Acting Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Thanh Le (left) together with Philippine Football Federation President Mariano Araneta (second to the far right) and General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes (far right) along with other representatives from New Zealand Embassy, Australian Embassy, and Philippine Women’s National Football Team.

“Gusto ko sanang batiin at pasalamatan ang lahat ng manlalaro ng Team Filipinas. Success is the final point of hours of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and making it to the World Cup is an awesome achievement! It is a testament to the Filipino spirit, unity, and sportsmanship. Proud kaming lahat sa inyo at may kumpyansa kami na bibigyan nyo ng matinding laban ang New Zealand Football Ferns. To the coaches, staff, and support personnel we acknowledge your dedication in nurturing athletes’ talent. Napakalaking bagay ng inyong expertise at gabay para sila ay magtagumpay. Let us also take a moment to acknowledge and honour other Filipinas players and members who cannot be here with us tonight. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is more than just a sporting event. It is a platform for us to connect with each other, matuto mula sa isa’t isa, and inspire each other to continue “Going Beyond”. New Zealand is known for its rich

culture, breath taking landscapes, and passionate sports fans. Filipinas, I’m sure that you’ll take this opportunity to immerse yourselves in our Kiwi traditions and build bridges of friendship that will last a lifetime. Cherish the memories you create, on and off the field, for they will shape not only your personal journeys but also the collective story of team Filipinas.” Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Tim Given said. 

Hali Long and Inna Palacios signing a token from the Philippine Football Federation. 

In his message, Australian Counsellor and Acting Deputy Head of Mission Thanh Le stated “Like Filipinos, Australians love sport. We value inclusiveness, teamwork, and a fair go in sport. We need more successes for Women in sports and we celebrate the success of the Filipinas as they take a huge step in next month’s competition at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This achievement will serve as an inspiration for many young athletes. We look forward to an exciting competition and hope to see the Filipinas play in Australia.”

Hali Long and Inna Palacios giving their remarks during the send off.
New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Tim Given (right) and Australian Counsellor and Acting Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Thanh Le (left) proposing a toast for Filipinas.

About the FIFA Women’s World Cup: 

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the ultimate international women’s football tournament, held every four years. The 2023 edition will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand and will feature top teams from around the world competing for the prestigious title. The tournament not only showcases exceptional athletic talent but also serves as a platform to empower women and promote gender equality in sports.

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