|By Khalis Rifhan
Asean Football Federation (AFF) have announced the groupings for the Under-16 and Under-19 AFF Championship 2013, to be hosted by Myanmar and Timor-Leste respectively.
Unlike previous years, where teams from other parts of Asia were invited to the tournament, this years’ participation is restricted only to South-East Asian countries, with the exception of Australia, who will be taking part in both age group competitions.
For the Under-16 championship, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Australia were drawn in Group B while Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines will pit themselves in Group B.
Laos, Philippines, Australia, Timor Leste, Singapore and Cambodia have been drawn together in Group A for the Under-19 championship while Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar will be in Group B.
The Under-16 competition to be held in Napyidaw, Myanmar in August while the Under-19 championship will be in Dili, Timor Leste in September.
The 2012 Under-16 edition was won by Japan who registered a 3-1 win over Australia in the finals in Laos while Iran lifted the Under-19 championship, beating Uzbekistan 2-1 in Vietnam.
Since the inception of the Under-16 championship in 2002, Myanmar (2002 and 2005), Thailand (2007 and 2011) and Vietnam (2006 and 2010) have emerged champions twice while Australia (2008) and Japan (2012) have lifted the trophy once.
As for the Under-19 championship both Thailand (2002, 2009 and 2011) and Australia (2006,2008 and 2010) have won the final thrice, while Myanmar (2005), Vietnam (2007) and Iran have won the championship once.
AFF also announced that the draw for the Women’s Championship and the Futsal Championship will be held in April.
AFF Under-16 Championship 2013 – Napyidaw, Myanmar
Group A: Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Australia
Group B: Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines
AFF Under-19 Championship 2013, Dili, Timor-Leste
Group A: Laos, Philippines, Australia, Timor Leste, Singapore and Cambodia
Group B: Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar