8 Nov 2016

Sport: Guam focus on basics in women's EAFF opener

12:16 pm on 8 November 2016

The Guam women's football team are focused on getting the basics right in their opening match of the East Asian Cup second round.

The Masakada topped the first round standings four months ago with big wins against Macau and the Northern Marianas.

Since then Belinda Wilson has come on board as interim head coach.

Guam women's coach Belinda Wilson leads training in Hong Kong.

Guam women's coach Belinda Wilson leads training in Hong Kong. Photo: Guam Football Association

She's only had a few weeks with the national team and has tried to keep her message simple and clear.

"That will be the biggest challenge of the whole tournament, in regards to getting the players to start thinking on the same page," she said.

"Obviously the preparation with half the players in the United States and half the players on the island it's been difficult.

"But I'm pretty sure that I haven't changed too much in terms of giving them the new information.

"I've just tweaked the little things that they've done in the past and hopefully in the tournament we'll be able to work on those little tweaks and build from that.

"The girls have showed a lot of dedication and they're willing to work hard. They're very open to my ideas that I'm bringing in and the focus is really getting an understanding of our basic set-up and how we're going to play in each moment."

The Masakada train in Hong Kong before their EAFF Cup opener.

The Masakada train in Hong Kong before their EAFF Cup opener. Photo: Guam Football Association

Like their male counterparts, Guam are the lowest-ranked team in the second round: the Masakada are 80 in the FIFA Women's Rankings with Korea 19th, Chinese Taipei 38th and Hong Kong 68th.

Belinda Wilson said she has a decent understanding of their opponents, having worked in football in the region for a number of years.

"Korea Republic and Chinese Taipei I know fairly well due to the work that I've done previously with FIFA and obviously with AFC. Hong Kong, their program is fairly new and I haven't seen much of their game at all - and trying to find game footage is very difficult as well - so they're a little bit of an unknown at the moment."

"We want to get results - you don't play football at senior levels just to play games - so for myself I'll be looking at the performances of the players as individuals and obviously as a team and then making sure that we build through the tournament so we finish stronger than what we started."

Guam face a difficult first-up clash against South Korea this afternoon while hosts Hong Kong take on Chinese Taipei.

"They're top five in Asia and they've just come back off the Olympic campaign, which they did very well...so they're the benchmark and I think Asia, in women's football, is one of the strongest regions in the world so if we can get some games against quality players then we're only going to be able to improve going forward and recognise the areas that we need to and where the gaps are."

The overall winner will advance to next month's EAFF Cup final round against Japan, China and North Korea.