| HO CHI MINH CITY (4 August 2009) – The AFF Under-19 Championship which kicks-off here today is an event that all of the participating coaches have been eagerly awaiting for.
With the shortage of international competitions, the AFF Championship is the perfect platform for these
“This tournament is really good for us, we now have the opportunity to try out our players in a top level competition. We have been training and trying out many players however we need to try them out in quality competitions to see if they are cut out for international assignments,” said Thai coach Chalermvud Sangnapol.
Other coaches, among them Alistair Edwards from Australia, Salim Moin from Singapore, Prak Savonarra from Cambodia and Vietnam’s Vo Hoang Buu, all echoed similar sentiments about the importance of the AFF
Apart from playing friendly games, the coaches for this age-group have little options to test their charges.
“We have a problem in Australia as our players come from all over the country. To bring them together is difficult. We had a training camp a month ago for a few days. For this tournament, we just gathered the boys, we have one from Scotland too, and just flew out here.”
But it’s during this tournament that Edwards will be able to narrow down the final squad for the Asian Under-19 qualifying rounds later this year.
For the players, the experience of playing against their peers in such a tournament and the exposure will go a long way in their overall development.
Those who prove themselves can count on being retained in their national youth teams but those who fail to prevail may be replaced.
With so much at stake, fans in this city can expect very closely contested matches.
On paper, Australia and Vietnam appear to be the favourites but the other teams could well serve up some surprises.