SURABAYA (28 July 2018) – The AFF Under-16 Championship opens tomorrow with some keen contest expected as the big boys look to maintain their stranglehold while the fringe teams will be hoping some surprises.
Indonesia have the added burden of not only being the hosts but also having to make up for the shortcomings of the U19 team at the recent AFF meet also in Surabaya where they finished third.
It is a little too close for comfort for the home team having to prove their worth – a thought not lost on Indonesian head coach Fachri Hussaini in Group A.
“Of course we feel some pressure as we are playing at home. There are some expectations for us to do well especially after the performance of the U19 team and also as we are hosts,” said Fachri.
“But we have been preparing well and we want to do well.
The Philippines, who will be Indonesia’s opponents in their opening tie tomorrow at the Delta Sidoarjo Stadium, will be determined to put up a better performance than how they have done last year.
“We want to be competitive and of course, we want to do well. We will do our very best to stop Indonesia,” said Philippines head coach Reiji Hirata.
“We are lacking in several things but we have done as well as we can to put up a credible squad,” said Cambodian head coach Lee Tae Hoon.
“We are the defending champions and we have prepared for more than a month for this championship. We would like to win it again,” said Vietnam head coach Vu Hong Viet.
“Young players are unpredictable. While we want to do well, we have to be careful with our expectations as these are young players,” said Myanmar head coach Nyi Nyi Latt.
“We to prehave been preparing for the last two months with the last several weeks here in Surabaya. It shows that we are eager to do well,” said Timor Leste head coach Joao Araujo.
Over in Group B, powerhouse Thailand will be out to regain the crown they last won in 2015.
“We have a long period of preparation and I know most of the players well. I am looking forward to doing well and bring the trophy back to Bangkok,” said Thailand head coach Thongchai Rungreagleas.
“We just want to expose the players and give them playing time. We have a big pool of players, so we want to test players ahead of the AFC championship later,” said Malaysian head coach Raja Azlan Shah.
“It will be a good test for the players to take on some of the big teams from the region. I hope to get some good results,” said Brunei head coach Stephen Ng.
“We have to do better than we did last year. We are in a competitive group so we have to be competitive too,” added Laos head coach Konlaya Sysomvany.
“We have not produced good results at the youth level and we need to make sure that we start doing so,” said Singapore head coach Ryo Shigaki.
FIXTURES – Group A
29 July 2018
1500: Cambodia vs Vietnam (Joko Samudro Stadium)
1830: Myanmar vs Timor Leste (Joko Samudro Stadium)
1900: Indonesia vs Philippines (Delta Sidoarjo Stadium)