Reigning champions Thailand and Australia are expected to claim two of the four precious slots to the AFC Futsal Championships in 2016, leaving the eight other teams in the AFF Futsal Championship here battling for the remaining places.
While the Thais and Aussies are likely to take charge in the AFF Futsal here beginning tomorrow and advance Uzbekistan next year, Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar are among those in the running to complete the line-up of ASEAN teams in the AFC event.
The general consensus amongst the coaches was clear. It was evident that Thailand and Australia had earned the respect of the other teams’ trainers.
“Thailand and Australia are the top team here – that is very sure,” said Timor Leste coach Bruno Torres, whose team has been spending a lot of time at the beach to improve on their overall fitness.
“But for us, we are here also to make a challenge and not just the numbers.”
Thai coach Vic Hermans commented that many teams in the region had shown improvement which could only be good for the overall development of ASEAN Futsal.
“We lost to Vietnam last year and that is something we will not forget. So it is important that we defend our No.1 position here.”
Australian team manager Chris Conti commented that his team has been advised to not under-estimate any one in the group.
“We must respect all teams. We are however here and are determined to qualify.”
Myanmar coach Saeid Khodarahmi commented: “the standard has been set. Now it is up to the rest of the competing teams to show their level.”
Laos assistant manager, Sysaveuy Saysanasy said that Australia and Thailand were clearly the top teams and added that his team was here to learn as much as they could.
“We are hoping for a good start. And we also hope that we can do better than we did last year. ”
Vietnam coach Bruno Farmoso, said the team’s target was simple and that was to win one of the four available slots. “We must make the semi-finals,” quipped Formoso., whose team had just returned from a playing tour of Spain.
Singapore team manager Mohamed Feizel expressed his team’s delight at being back in the AFF Futsal after sitting out of the regional futsal tournament since 2001.
“It’s been a long time since we last played, around 13 years ago actually. We are here to learn and hope to take the experience back and return better in the future,” added Mohamed.
Philippines coach Balthazar Avelino is also pleased to have the team back in the AFF Futsal.
“It’s great to have many teams, it also shows that the game is growing in the region. The exposure will be good for us.”
Brunei team manager, said the team would gain loads of experience from this tournament. “Competing here will give us a chance to see how we have developed.”
Malaysian assistant coach Addie Azwan Zainal said that the competition this year will be very close.
“A lot of teams have improved tremendously, so it is not going to be an easy competition. Thailand and Australia are the favourites, so we have to raise the level of our game significantly,” added Addie.