PHNOM PENH (26 Feb 2022) – Laos was unable to field a team against Timor Leste for the AFF U23 third-fourth playoff today due to injuries and the impact of Covid-19.
But in a supreme show of sportsmanship, Timor Leste proposed declaring both teams joint bronze medallists.
The proposal was accepted by the Asean Football Federation.
“This was a truly magnanimous gesture from Timor Leste. I want to thank Mr. Francisco Jeronimo, the President of the Timor Leste Federation, for extending the offer today soon after learning that Laos had to withdraw,” said AFF President, Major General Khiev Sameth today.
He added that Timor Leste’s action reflects the sportsmanship and solidarity that exists among the AFF Member Associations.
“Throughout this tournament, we have seen teams, some severely stricken by Covid-19 and injuries, display tremendous spirit and continue to field teams. Teams did not have their first-choice players but they pressed on and took to the pitch.”
Laos, who did not have the required seven players to start the match today, had struggled to field a team in the semi-finals. Vietnam was hard hit and had to bring in replacement players while other teams were similarly impacted, but all of them chose to play on.
Major General Sameth praised all the teams and said they were all winners.
“Despite the numerous challenges they faced, they did not give up, to me these teams are all winners and every player a hero.”
Timor Leste and Laos will both receive the AFF U23 bronze medals.