CHONBURI (8 July 2017) – With twelve teams set to clash in Chonburi tomorrow, this year’s AFF Under-15 Championship will be too close to call even though defending champions Australia will still be the team to watch.
And to show how serious the Australians are taking this tournament this year, the team had already set up camp in the eastern city of Chonburi for the past week with the clear intention of retaining the title they won in a hot humid evening in Phnom Penh last year.
“We have already set up camp for the past week and naturally, we are looking at putting up a good performance for each match,” said Australian team manager Michael Sydney.
“The team has been prepared for the past five months and where this tournament will be a good exposure for them. It will be a tough opening match though (against hosts Thailand).”
Thailand – three times champions (in 2007, 2011 and 2015) – will be eager to wrest the crown in front of their home fans – this especially when they have a new coach Salvador Garcia from Spain at the helm.
“I have been here for the past three months and this is my first official tournament,” said Garcia.
“It took us close to two months to select the players and we have the desire to start well. We have studied some of our opponents from video and we basically know what to expect.”
“We are in the Group of Death. It is very difficult but we have prepared this team from the academy for the past two to three years. They have been training for the past two months, so we will see what happens tomorrow.” – Myanmar team manager Win Thu Mo
“This is a very good tournament for the young players. It took us more than two months to look at players and we have preparing for the past five months in total. We had a good tournament in Ho Chi Minh City recently.” – Indonesian head coach Fachri Hussaini
“We prepared quite early where we had camp in Indonesia and also a tournament in Hong Kong. We are looking for a good performance from the players where we need to gauge where we stand and improve.” – Singapore team manager Amir Ashraf
“We are 100% ready for this championship. We are in a strong group obviously with Australia and Thailand but the players have been working hard and we are all eager to do well here.” – Laos head coach Kanlaya Sysomvang
“We started preparations in May and where we had one friendly match against Indonesia. We are missing some players dues to school commitment but I believe that we have prepared as well as we can.” – Philippines assistant coach Mike Castanos
“This team has been together for the past two years and everything is running smoothly. We had some good games overseas although the only setback was the fasting month. We just expect the players to do their best.” – Malaysia assistant coach P. Ganasamurthy
“Our aim is to make the final again. Football standard in the region is going up and it is because of tournaments like these. Last month, we played in a tournament against Myanmar and Indonesia so we know the level.” – Vietnam head coach Tuan Hoang Ang
“The team is not at a high level so it is important that we take part in this tournament so that we can learn from the big teams. We only had two weeks of training which is not enough but we will try.” – Cambodia head coach Keo Sareth
“We are ready for this tournament and I believe that we can deliver some surprises. The boys are all eager and I hope that they can play well to show the level of Timor football at the age group.” – Timor Leste team manager Agusto Henriquez
“The players are all from the league. We have been training for the past one month for what is really our first international tournament. I want the players to learn where it is important for our development.” – Brunei team manager Morni Haji Zakaria
FIXTURES – GROUP A
9 July 2017
1600: Australia vs Thailand
1830: Laos vs Singapore
1600: Myanmar vs Indonesia