BANGKOK (Jan 22, 2002) – Singapore kept their semifinal hopes alive when they defeated traditional rivals Malaysia 1-0 in a AFF Under-20 Group A match at the Thai Japan Youth Centre Stadium today. The credit for the only goal of the match went to Norfahazly Kamsan who took advantage of a lapse in defence to notch the winner.

Although the win placed them within a mathematical chance of making the cut, Singapore will have to defeat Indonesia in their last preliminary match and hope the other contenders stumble along the way.

While the Singaporeans were celebrating their narrow win, the Malaysians were sore at their first loss of the tournament. A win today would have enhanced their semifinal hopes. But with the defeat, the Malaysians will have to beat favourites Thailand in their last preliminary tie.

In today’s match, both teams played unattractive football with neither really having an edge over the other. However a lapse in concentration by the Malaysian defence resulted in the only goal of the match.

In the 65th minute, Norfahazly pounced on the ball, which came off the crossbar, to quickly turn it in before Malaysian keeper Sani Anuar could get his hands to it.

This was Singapore’s first win in three outings. They crashed to Thailand (5-1) and Myanmar (7-1) in their first two matches. Malaysia on the other hand defeated Myanmar (2-1) and were held to a 3-3 draw by Indonesia.

Following today’s proceedings, Thailand are top of Group A with seven points while Myanmar and Malaysia are second and third respectively with four points apiece. Singapore are fourth with three points while Indonesia are fifth with only one point.

Singapore coach Robert Lim said his team took their chances well. “I feel sorry for Malaysia. It could have gone either way. We grabbed that one good chance and scored.

“Malaysia are a fairly good team but we always bring out our best against them,” Robert added.

Malaysian goalkeeper coach Lim Chuan Chin said it was an evenly contested match. “But we were punished by a lapse in concentration. We were also not playing according to plan. The Singaporeans played better than us.”

Malaysia and Singapore will conclude their group matches on Monday.



PHNOM PENH (Jan 26, 2002) – Laos sent shock waves through the regional football fraternity when they stunned Vietnam 1-0 at the Cambodian Army Stadium here today to qualify for the semifinals of the inaugural AFF Under-20 tournament. The win also sent Laos to the top of the group with a maximum nine points from three matches.

Laos scored victories over the Philippines (4-0) and Brunei (2-1) in their first two games but it was the win over Vietnam today which proved that they were a formidable side.

The Laotions, enjoying one of the their finest runs in recent times, took to the pitch full of confidence and they switched into battle mode right from the beginning.

Latraphon Khanyavong was installed as the new hero of the fans in his country when he scored the only goal of the match in the 40th minute.

Th frustration of not being able to break through must have got the Vietnam’s Nguyen Lam Tan who was given the marching orders in the 77th minute.

Four Vietnamese players, including Lam Tan, were booked by referee Midi Nitrorejo of Indonesia. Two Laos players also were also flashed the yellow card.

Although Laos have one more game to go against Cambodia on Monday, they are already through to the semis, what’s left is for them to top the group and avoid the prospect of meeting Thailand in the crossover semifinals.

Vietnam are also virtually through to the last four as they have six points from three games and have another tie remaining against Brunei on Monday. A draw will be enough to take them through.

Philippines are third in the group with three points and they will have to wait for Monday to know if they still have any hopes of advancing.
But for this to happen, and it is highly unlikely, Philippines must hope for Brunei to defeat Vietnam. Then the Filipinos will have to score a big win in their final match against Brunei on Tuesday.



BANGKOK (Jan 27, 2002) – Singapore are brimming with confidence and are hoping to create another upset, this time against Indonesia.

Their confidence has been boosted after that surprise 1-0 win over Malaysia on Saturday.

“If we get our act together, we may be able to create an upset,” Robert Lim, the Singapore coach said.

He added that beating Malaysia has spurred his players, who are eager to take on the Indonesians.

He is aware that the Indonesians are not to be easily disregarded as they have also a fast-paced attack.

“We have to map out a plan on how to contain them and I feel that we are quite organised tactically to stop them,” he added.



BANGKOK (Jan 27, 2002) – Thai coach Chanvit Polchivin may not field England-based striker Teeratep Winothai in the starting line-up for the match against Malaysia.

Teeratep, a talented striker who was also part of the victorious SEA Games squad last year, may be kept on the bench following his inability to combine with the other players in the team.

“I may only use him later in the game and I cannot take any chances against Malaysia,” Chanvit continued.

Malaysia, according to him, are wounded and could be dangerous. They will try to salvage some pride and try to stay in the hunt for a semifinal berth.

“We have to be cautious of them but we too want to win this match,” added Chanvit.



BANGKOK (Jan 27, 2002) – The chances of Malaysia making the semifinals are rather dim. They face Thailand, the tournament favourites, in the last Group A encounter tomorrow evening.

The Thais have already booked a place in the next round but Malaysia have only themselves to blame after the 1-0 defeat to Singapore.

“We are not going to loose hope but we have to be realistic. Our chances are very slim,” Malaysian coach Jorvan Vieira said.

Vieira, a Brazilian, is being very honest. Malaysia and Myanmar have the same number of points but Malaysia has a weaker goal difference.

And Myanmar’s final group match is against Indonesia, whom they should beat.

“Our only chance is to beat Thailand and hope Indonesia holds Myanmar to a draw,” said Vieira.

Beating Thailand looks very remote. Malaysia does not have the mental strength nor the creative attitude up front to make this happen.

Except for a shaky defence, the Thai midfield and attack is very consistent.

They have technically sound players in Datsakorn Thonglao, Kittipol Papunga and Ekaphan Inthasen and if they decide to play Panai Kogpraphan instead of their ‘star’ Teeratep Winothai, Malaysia can expect a harrowing time.

“I’ll rearrange our midfield for more consistency and hope to destroy the Thai distribution network,” Vieira added.

Vieira hopes the return of Mohamad Salim Zulkifli, will bolster the Malaysian defence. Salim was not able to play Myanmar as he was serving a one match suspension for the two yellow card offences.

Thailand on the other hand, will be wise not to field Teeratep as he does not seem to gel with the attack.




BANGKOK (Jan 28, 2002) – It was sheer humiliation for Malaysia as Thailand drubbed them without any mercy.

They just could not find any solutions to stop the rampaging Thai attack that tore the Malaysian defence to shreds.

The Thais moved in with ease. They were swift down the flanks, and through the middle. In fact they outpaced and outmaneuvered Malaysia.

The Malaysian defence was in total disarray and were slow to recover.

They were lucky that the Thais slowed down the pace after the breather. In fact, they were easily good for another three goals.

They netted as early as the fourth minute when Panai Kongpraphan blasted home.

This opened the floodgates and proved their favourites tag with seven goals in just 36 minutes.

The man of the match was Ekaphan Inthasen with four goals to his credit.

Malaysia suffered yet another blow when Tengku Alias Tengku Ibrahim was sent off by referee Mohd Adly Abdullah in the 54th minute. Malaysia’s only goal came in the 61st minute through Fadzli Saari.

Thailand top the group with 10 points while Malaysia are out of the running.

Malaysian coach Jorvan Vieira said: “I didn’t expect this high score. You can lose the game but not this way. We knew Thailand is very strong but we played badly. Moreover, Thailand did not play in the second half.”

Thai coach Chanvit Polchivin said: “We played well especially in the first half but the strikers held back after the breather. I was not really satisfied with our second half performance.”

“We had practiced how to split the Malaysian defence but I was surprised the way they collapsed.”



BANGKOK (Feb 2, 2002) – Myanmar are ready to take on favourites Thailand in the AFF Under-20 final in Bangkok tomorrow.

“We are now prepared for Thailand,” said U Maung Win, the Myanmar manager.

According to him, Myanmar has had a tough road in the inaugural tournament and want to clinch the title.

“We drew in our first meeting but this time we want to finish differently,” Maung Win commented. Myanmar gave Thailand a tough time before holding the hosts to a 1-1 draw in an earlier Group A match.

However, Thailand will be a difficult team to defeat, not because they are playing on ‘home turf’ but they have talented players like Panai Kongpraphan, Ekaphan Inthasen and ‘super-sub’ Teeratep Winothai.

This encounter will be Myanmar’s relentless ‘fighting spirit’ against Thailand’s abundant ‘talent’.

“We know that Myanmar will not be a pushover and that’s why we’ll have to plan a tactical game,” said Chanvit Polchivin, the Thai coach.

He is also worried of his team’s lapse in concentration especially during the counter-attacks: “This has been a worrying factor in this tournament. We easily concede goals during such situations.”



BANGKOK (Jan 29, 2002) – Myanmar booked their place in the last four after defeating Indonesia 2-0 in their final AFF Under-20 Group B preliminary match here today.

Yan Paing, the 19 year-old university student from Yangon, claimed both goals for Myanmar. He scored the first in the 11th minute and slotted in penalty in the 38th minute.

The three points from this win helped Myanmar take over the second spot from Singapore which had six points from four ties. Myanmar started the game in third place with four points but were up to seven when the referee blew to end the game.

The early goal unsettled the Indonesians and they found it difficult to get pass the stout Myanmar defence.

The Indonesians came back a little stronger after the break but found that it wasn’t going to be their day.

Myanmar made several good moves but eventually failed in their attempts.

Myanmar manager, U Maung Win, said: “I’m not too impressed with my team’s performance. We allowed Indonesia to play possession football and we missed several chances.”

Bernhard Schumm, the Indonesian coach, praised his players despite the defeat. “Never mind the results. Don’t forget we played two matches in 24 hours and I’ve complaints from my players.

“We gave them a good fight and walked off the field with our heads held high.”



KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 26, 2002) – FIFA Exco Member and Goal Bureau Chairman, Mohamed Hammam Al-Abdulla officially opened the FIFA Goal Workshop here today.

In his opening address, Mohamed said that the FIFA Goal Project, which was initiated by FIFA president Joseph Blatter four years ago, has already reached 117 countries. “Out of this figure, 26 are in Asia,” Mohamed said.

He added that the success of the project so far had prompted Blatter to increase the budget for the next four years. “Countries who have benefitted may benefit again under the new budget.”

The three-day workshop began with the opening paper by Urs Zanitti, the director of the Goal Management team. This was followed by the official opening ceremony in the afternoon.

Manilal Fernando, the Colombo Development Officer, Zanitti and AFC General Secretary, Dato Peter Velappan, all spoke before Mohamed gave his opening address.

Later at the same function, Manilal and Dato’ Paul Mony Samuel, the Development Officer, FIFA Development Office Kuala Lumpur, presented the latest updates of the various projects in Asia.

Apart from Zanitti, the other papers were presented by Dato’ Paul, Dr. Eric Harrison, Keith McAuliffe, Windsor Paul John and Glenn Turner.