CHONBURI (14 August 2019) – All eyes will be on host and defending champions Thailand, and rightfully too when the AFF Women’s Championship opens here tomorrow. The Thais, who featured in the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year, come highly rated and will intimidate any side here.
With at least 16 players, who were registered for the World Cup in France, in action here, the hosts will put a strong front. “Our players are very determined, we will be using a mix of new and old players,” said Thai head coach, Kaenson Naruephon at the pre-match Press Conference today.
Among the notable names listed in the final registration released today were Kanjana Sung-Ngoen who scored against Sweden in the World Cup held in France. Others who were in the final World Cup squad and down to play here include defenders Duangnapa Sritala and Sunisa Srangthaisong, midfielders Rattikan Thongsombut and Taneekarn Dangda and striker Orathai Srimanee along with American based Suchawadee Nildhamrong.
Kaenson said the team were given a break after the World Cup and began preparing for this annual tournament a month ago. Despite not having longer preparations, Thailand will still be the ones to beat. The Thais are drawn in Group A along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Timor Leste, and Singapore.
Group B comprises Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.
While Thailand are the favourites, with the added advantage of playing at home, should make it to the semi-finals but that’s when they will start to feel the heat. Vietnam and Myanmar, who are in the other group, will come out strong and will give the hosts a run for their money.
Here’s what some of the coaches had commented about their preparations in the lead up to this tournament.
Comments from the Group B coaches
Marnelli Salvador Dimzon, Philippines coach: “We had prepared for six weeks but had more time together in August. We had a storm and that affected us as we had to train indoors. We are aiming for the semi-finals but if all goes well, then the final.”
Jacob MJ Joseph, Malaysian coach: “We had three weeks to prepare, and what we have now is a mixed side from the senior and Under-19 teams. There are changes from last year, about half the team. We did not play any international leading up to this event, but we hope to make the semi-finals.”
Melisa Ye Hui Ting, Singapore coach: “The players were selected from the league and we have been training throughout. The majority of the players are below 22-years, they will get good exposure and international matches.”
Lee Minyoung, Timor Leste coach: “I took this team last year but this year there is a football league and all the players are eager and training hard for this event. We hope for good results, we promise to do our best.”
Comments from the Group A coaches
Rudolf Nere, Indonesia coach: “We have been training for about one and a half months in Indonesia. There are strong teams in our group with much higher world ranking. For us, it is tough as there is no league compared to nations like Myanmar and Vietnam who have strong leagues. We arrived here about a week earlier and have had some matches which have been helpful.”
Win Thu Moe, Myanmar coach: “We will try our best, we have had two months to prepare. We have brought in some new players this year. We know Vietnam and Indonesia but we have not played Cambodia. Our aim here is to make the final.”
Mai Duc Chung, Vietnam coach: “This tournament is important for our region. We want to thank the AFF for organising this competition for the women, it is good for development. This year we have new teams coming in like Cambodia. We had our training in Japan and are looking forward to playing here. Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand are strong and we must respect them.
Oum Savong, Cambodia coach: “We have worked hard and prepared quite well. We played a series of friendly matches which included one international.”