The winner of the AFF U22 Championships is soon to be crowned. However, the tournament’s main emphasis has been on uncovering the future stars of South-East Asian football. Today, we take a look at 11 players whose performances at the tournament signal a bright future ahead.
Name: Koraphat Nareechan
Club: Khon Kaen FC (on loan from BG Pathum United)
The keeper was on red hot form to earn Thailand three clean sheets from their three group stage games. Koraphat was the War Elephants' best player in the 0-0 draw against Vietnam - with his flying save to deny Bui Tien Dung's long-range screamer in the 20th minute being the highlight of the game.
Name: Yue Safy
Club: Phonm Penh Crown
Yue Safy put in a string of brilliant performances in the heart of the defense for Cambodia. His goal in the 26th minute against Myanmar brought his side to the semi-finals.
Name: Dominic Tan
Club: Johor Darul Ta'zim
Despite the loss to Cambodia, Dominic Tan covered his weaknesses through the second and third games against Indonesia and Myanmar. He showed a lot of improvement in his technique and distribution
Name: Saringkan Promsupa
Club: Muangthong United
Saringkan is the leader of the Thai defense that earned three clean sheets in the group stage. The captain also managed to get on the scoresheet twice, and his goal against the Philippines in particular was a beauty as he bought the ball down with class before firing a thunderous shot.
Name: Le Minh Binh
Club: Hoang Anh Gia Lai
He came off the bench and score the winning goal for Vietnam in the opening match against the Philippines.
Name: Gian Zola
Club: PSS Sleman
Gian was one of the players who always played in all three group matches. He was the playmaker and the core of the Garuda's attack, demonstrating his ability to deliver the ball everywhere and control the game's tempo, as well as creating chances from the second line.
Name: Tran Thanh Son
Club: Hoang Anh Gia Lai
The midfielder showed why he has been chosen as the captain of the team. He controlled the midfield for Vietnam and contributed a lot to the playstyle of the team.
Name: Jaroensak Wonggorn
Club: Samut Prakan City FC
Skillful, fast and clinical. Jaroensak is the focal point of the Thai attack whether he drifts wide or drop deep to create chances.
Name: Hadi Fayyadh
Club: Fagiano Okayama
He scored two goals during this tournament. One of his strikes saves Malaysia from a critical loss. Despite failing to go through to the semi-finals, he has shown an improvement in his game.
Name: Tran Danh Trung
Club: Hue FC
Scored after coming on in the opening match against the Philippines. He added two more in the match against Timor Leste to become the joint-top scorer after group stage with 3 goals.
Name: Marinus Wanewar
Club: Bhayangkara FC (on loan from Persipura Jayapura)
He has scored three goals so far, making himself the top scorer of the tournament alongside with Tran Danh Trung from Vietnam. The semi-final will be crucial for both of them, in terms of the race for the Golden Boot.