National Teams – Age-group ● Aug 01, 2019

Performance against Vietnam our best so far, says U15 head coach Aw

Photo courtesy of FA Thailand

SINGAPORE, 1 AUGUST 2019 – Philippe Aw believes that his team deserved to come away with a point from their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-15 Championship game against Vietnam on Wednesday evening.

Singapore fell to a 1-0 defeat after conceding a penalty in the final minute of their third Group A match but Aw noted that this was their best performance of the tournament so far – they drew 0-0 with Myanmar in the first game and lost 3-0 to Indonesia in the second.

“We competed and I think we matched Vietnam today,” he told FAS after the game at the Institute of Physical Education campus in Chonburi, Thailand. “We hit the bar twice and we were dangerous from set-pieces; today, this game should have been a draw.

“Vietnam dominated possession but we knew that if we went out there and played an open game, we’d get hit; we were defensively solid, frustrated them and they couldn’t break us down.”

Aw also elaborated on the thinking behind making seven changes from the team that played their last game and the need for players in this age-group to have more international exposure.

“It is not easy for these boys to play every two days,” he said. “We brought a squad of 22 and we thought this game was a good time to ring the changes, and give some players some game time. As we play more matches, these boys get more confident.

“It is good that we brought them here to play in this tournament (which is their first AFF tournament) and you can see that they are much improved in this third game; back in Singapore, they are playing in the U15 and school leagues, which are not near international level.

“It is important that we give all of them a chance to show what they have… against stronger opponents, we can see whether the boys have the composure and courage to play football (at this level).

“You could see the jitters in them (at the start of the tournament), they were afraid; coming into this game, we talked to them and told them not to worry about making mistakes, to do what they can do.

“If they make mistakes, so be it; (sometimes) we forget that these boys are 14, 15 years old, I think we need to adopt a growth mindset and look (more) at performances, at whether the team and individuals have improved. We want them to become a National A- team player in the long term and this process is a long one.”

Singapore have two games left to play – against leaders Timor-Leste tomorrow and the Philippines on Sunday – and Aw wants to see his side further improve on their displays to date.

“For me, the boys have really put in 100 per cent effort in the three games so far and worked their socks off to do the country proud,” he asserted.