The AFF Beach Soccer 2019 which kicks off tomorrow here at Laem Tan Beach here in Chonburi will hopefully provide the catalyst for the growth of the sport in Asia.
All five head coaches from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam alongside two guest teams from China PR and Afghanistan who are taking part in this year’s meet felt that more should be done for the growth of the sport.
“We are grateful to the AFF and also the FA of Thailand for organising this tournament as we are not getting as many matches as we should. Tournament like this allows us to improve as it will also allow other teams to do better,” said China PR head coach Ramiro Amarelle.
“We do not have enough tournaments with the last being the AFC meet. And I believe that I said it for the others that we need more competition at the regional level to compete against the world. Otherwise, we will be left behind.
“For this year’s championship, we are looking to do better than at AFC where we conceded too many goals and did not defend as well as we should.”
This year’s AFF Beach Soccer is only the third edition in ASEAN history following previous editions in 2014 that was won by Malaysia when they were the hosts and then last year which was won by Vietnam in Bali.
Thailand head coach Setthakornchai Chuenta echoed the sentiments of his colleague when he added: “it is great that we have teams from outside the ASEAN region as that will give us the opportunity to learn and gauge our level.”
“For us, I think that we would also like to use this opportunity to do test some of our younger players. Naturally, we want to do well in front of our home fans. I hope that this tournament will give us the opportunity to develop the game further.”
Defending champions Vietnam, who will open their campaign against China PR tomorrow, felt that the additions of the two teams from Asia will make this year’s meet even more competitive.
“The lack of competition meant that we do not know our opponents well, so we have to be realistic when setting targets,” said Vietnam head coach Truong Tuan Cong.
“It is a great opportunity to play against the likes of China and Afghanistan as this will give us the chance to learn and improve. Half of the team is new, so it will be an interesting opening game for us.”
Malaysia head coach Mohd Faizal Md Sood hoped that the AFF will continue to organise beach soccer on an annual basis as he felt that this is the only sure way to move forward.
“This is a very good and important tournament for us as otherwise, we will not have any competition at all. And that can seriously hamper the growth of the sport,” added Faizal. “I believe that everyone plays their part where the media and all concerned should look at developing the sport together.
“Our last competition was at AFC, so we are looking at a tough tournament this time around where we have brought in some new players into the mix.”
Afghanistan, who will not take to the sands tomorrow, are looking at an exciting tournament ahead where they have also brought in some new blood into the squad.
“We always want to do well and with the new players that we have brought, we hope that we can be competitive and do better than we did at the last tournament we took part in,” added Afghanistan head coach Ibsanulloh Sherzad.
FIXTURES – 13 Nov 2019
All matches at the Laem Tan Beach, Chonburi
1600: China PR vs Vietnam
1730: Thailand vs Malaysia