| PETALING JAYA (Mar 2, 2008) – Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohamed bin Hammam attended the 15th Ordinary Congress of the Asean Football Federation which was held at a leading hotel here today.
In his speech, Hammam commended the AFF for its efforts in developing the game in the region. “First of all, I want to thank the AFF for inviting me and I feel honoured to be here today. I wish to congratulate the AFF for their work in the reigon. Since it was formed in 1984, the AFF has contributed extensively to the development of the game,” he said.
He said the Vision Asia programme was progressing well in the region. “Vision Asia started five years ago and it is doing very well in some countries, others are waiting for the green light to begin.”
Hammam was full of praise for the four AFF members associations – Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia – which hosted the Asian Cup 2007.
“I would like to thank the four host nations of the Asian Cup who did a great job last year. The tournament in 2007 was the most successful competition in Asian Cup history. The tournament attracted worldwide media coverage.”
“Your region (Southeast Asian region) in particular is attracting more and more international teams. Also, in this region, football is the main sport and does not need to fight other sports.”
Before he concluded, Hammam said the AFC would support the efforts of the AFF. “We can support each other. In general, AFC will support the development of coaches, referees administrators and others in the AFF.”
AFF President, Tengku Tan Sri Ahmad Rithaudeen, meanwhile thanked the AFC President for his presence at the Congress.
“On behalf of the AFF I would like to put on record that we are deeply honoured by the presence of the AFC President, Mohamed bin Hammam, who has taken the time off from his busy schedule to be with the Asean family this morning,” Tengku Ahmad said.
“Your presence has not only shown your personal support but has also given us the inspiration to work harder for the development of the game in the Asean region.”
He added that the AFC had done a tremendous job developing the game. “I believe that the role of the AFF is more of complementing the work and the vision of the AFC,” said the AFF president. “All AFF development programmes are geared towards preparing our members associations to perform more competitively when they compete against other Asian teams.”