FCA BEST XI: MVP Chanathip amongst top class of AFF Suzuki Cup 2016
After an exciting month that saw Thailand win their fifth AFF Suzuki Cup title, here is the team of the tournament as selected by Football Channel’s network of Asian editions:
GK: Kawin Thamsatchanan (Thailand)
In a tremendous campaign that included four clean sheets, Kawin conceded just four goals – all of them to runners-up Indonesia – and proved himself to be one of the best goalkeepers in Southeast Asia with tremendous performances including the key semifinal first leg at Myanmar.
RB: Tristan Do (Thailand)
Tristan’s speed and physicality helped him ferociously patrol the right flank, and his important efforts kept Indonesia’s Rizky Pora at bay in the final. The 23-year-old frequently helped to create chances for the Thai attack and he is quickly evolving into one of the region’s top right backs.
CB Hansamu Yama (Indonesia)
The 21-year-old only made his senior international debut in the first leg of the semifinals against Vietnam, but he made his presence known with two important goals in three matches, including the stunning game-winner against Thailand in the finals. Absolutely has a bright future ahead of him for Garuda.
CB Tanaboon Kesarat (Thailand)
While not necessarily a natural centre-half, Tanaboon acquitted himself well as one of Kiatisuk’s first choices on the Thai backline and demonstrated great vision and a composed presence when holding possession.
LB Theerathon Bunmathan (Thailand)
The Muangthong United left back set up countless chances for his teammates, making four assists over the course of the tournament including a killer cross in the second leg of the final. His agility kept defenders off-guard, and he was also able to contribute to his team’s defensive efforts.
MF Stefano Lilipaly (Indonesia)
Lilipaly was the heart of the Indonesian attack during the tournament, playing with great determination and relishing the role of playmaker. His goal against Vietnam will be known as one of the most memorable of Indonesian footballing history, and his commitment to the team is beyond question.
MF Luong Xuan Truong (Vietnam)
At just 21 years old, proved himself to be one of Vietnam’s best players in the tournament with his good vision and passing, assisting two goals in the group stage. With just seven caps so far for the senior team, the HAGL midfielder – who spent this season on loan with South Korea’s Incheon United – has a promising senior career ahead of him.
MF Chanathip Songkrasin (Thailand)
Though small in stature, Chanathip’s dribbling and passing abilities saw him get the better of nearly every opponent he faced. His exciting and explosive skills earned him a second straight AFF Suzuki Cup MVP nod, and he’s sure to turn heads next year in Japan with his reported transfer to Consadole Sapporo.
MF Aung Thu (Myanmar)
The Yadanarbon attacker showed a game intelligence far above his 20 years in the group stage, and though he found himself outmatched against Thailand in the semifinals it’s clear that he will be a force to be reckoned with as he continues to mature and develop.
FW Boaz Solossa (Indonesia)
At 30 years old, Boaz wore the captain’s armband with honour, leading his team with three goals. Though Indonesia will surely continue to progress now that they are back on the international stage, it is hard to imagine the possibility that the veteran will not be representing his country in the two years from now in the 2018 edition of the tournament.
FW Teerasil Dangda (Thailand)
With six goals, the veteran striker won the tournament’s Golden Boot for a third time with his reliably clinical finishing. Teerasil fulfilled his responsibilities as Thailand’s most senior player without fail, and was justly rewarded with his first Suzuki Cup title after missing out in 2014.
COACH: Alfred Riedl (Indonesia)
Although Kiatisuk deserved plenty of credit for his remarkable achievement, it must also be noted that Thailand were undoubtedly the favourites heading into this tournament and simply lived up to expectations. Nobody expected Alfred Riedl’s side to advance past the group stage, never mind keep the War Elephants at bay until the second leg, and for that he deserves more than fair credit.
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