PETALING JAYA (Feb 8, 2002) – The Malaysian Under-17 team will face their stiffest test yet when they compete in the inaugural AFF Under-17 youth tournament to be held from Feb 19 to Mar 2.

Malaysia will host Group A while the second group will play their preliminary matches in Indonesia.

The hosts have been drawn together with archrivals Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei. The other five Asean teams – Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are in Group B.

“This tournament will be very useful because it will provide the team with tough matches to test their physical and mental strength,” said the team’s head coach, Zainal Abidin Hassan.

“This will also serve as a good learning opportunity for the boys. They will be better prepared to give a good account of themselves at the AFC Under-17 qualifiers in May,” said Zainal, a former international striker.

“We urge football fans to support our team. Fans can play an integral part in the success of the team, just like when they spurred the Under-23 team on during the SEA Games,” said Dato’ Ibrahim Saad, Chairman of the Organising Committee at a Press Conference to announce Nestle Products Sdn Bhd as the sponsor for the event.

“We are happy with the various development programmes initiated by the FAM and see the tremendous potential for football to once again capture the imagination of the Malaysian public,” said Nestle’s Sports Marketing and Sponsorship Manager, Dina Rizal.

The AFF Under-17 event is one of two youth tournaments introduced by the AFF this year. The inaugural AFF Under-20 meet was staged with great success in Thailand and Cambodia. The Thais emerged the champions.


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