| PHNOM PENH (September 2, 2007) – With more than 130,000 spectators who came to the National Olympic Stadium over the last two weeks, there is no doubt that the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-17 Championship this year has been a resounding success for hosts Cambodia.
H. E. Ravy Khek, the chairman of the Local Organising Committee and who is also a vice president of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) in releasing the number of attendance, said that the experience of being host has been invaluable.
“It has been a fantastic two weeks and the Football Federation of Cambodia have been enriched by the experience,” said Ravy at the end of the prize giving ceremony yesterday.
“It is true that we have had some good weather and then some bad ones but I believe that the experience has been invaluable to all teams. And certainly for us, we will be looking at hosting other tournaments in the future.”
With the extreme heat and rain apart, the tournament this year has proven that there have been definite grounds being made by the competing teams even though the likes of Brunei and Singapore were the earliest to exit the meet.
There were only two overwhelming results in the just concluded championship when Malaysia beat Brunei 7-0 in Group A and then Laos whitewashing Singapore 4-0 in Group B.
But that did little to demonstrate the true abilities of the side from Brunei and Singapore where their presence and performances in the earlier matches have made qualifications from the group into the semi-finals that much harder.
And this year, it took the last game in the group to decide which four teams who will make the semi-finals of the tournament – bearing testament that Asean age-group teams are making positive progress.
Certainly and even though they lost in the final to Thailand, the performance of Laos under former international Soulivanh Xuenvilay is food for thought for the others as they look to be more competitive in the not so distant future.
“It has been a fantastic tournament for my team because of the difference in terms of physique and technical ability. But the important thing is that even though we did not make the semi-finals, the team fought all the way in the group matches and they gave 100% which is important.” – KWON OH SON, the head coach of Brunei.
“I will have to thank the AFF because this tournament is very important for a young team as it will allow us to gauge where we stand in the region. It has given my players invaluable experience and I believe that they can only benefit from playing here.” ABDULLAH MOHD NOOR, the head coach of Singapore.
“The FFC (Football Federation of Cambodia) have not organised an international tournament for quite some time so for them to host this event is very good. They have good natural resource which is the fans and for 40,000 of them to come and watch the Cambodian national U17 team play is great. They should build on this.” – PRAYOUNG KHUNAN, the head coach of Thailand.
“It has been a successful organisation where the number of spectators who came to watch Cambodian matches is very good. I believe that the LOC has done a tremendous job and they should be praised.” – DINH HONG VINH, the head coach of Vietnam.
“I have high appreciation for Cambodia’s hosting of this tournament. But there are rooms for growth for sure. They need to improve the pitch and also the flood lights, so that they can play matches at night. If they can do this, then they will benefit in the long run.” DEMIS DJAMAOEDDIN, the team manager of Indonesia.
“I have to thank the AFF and the FFC for all the support they have given us for this championship. The FFC even organised a match for us against the Army team before the start of the tournament where that probably gave us a slight edge.” – SOULIVANH XUENVILAY, the head coach of Laos.