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SEA Games 2019: Young talents to look out for

The men’s football event at the SEA Games 2019 is set to kick-off today (25 November) with a host of rising stars vying for the spotlight.

A total of 11 ASEAN nations will compete in the tournament with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout stages.

And here we would like to highlight some of the top youth talents you should watch out for at the biennial multi-sport event.

Supachok Sarachat (Thailand)

The highly rated 21-year-old plays for Buriram United and the Thailand national team. Having had a starring role in the 2020 AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers back in March, the player went on to start all five of his country’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. With Ekanit Panya ruled out of the tournament due to an injury, it will be up to Supachok to help his nation defend their title.

Luqman Hakim (Malaysia)

17-year-old Luqman recently made waves when he signed a deal with Belgium top division side KV Kortrijk. Despite his young age, the prolific goalscorer gain recognition after helping Malaysia reach the final of the AFF U19 Championship 2019 earlier this year, where they lost to Australia. The absence of Johor Darul Ta’zim F.C. (JDT) forward Safawi Rasid could provide Luqman with the perfect opportunity to prove his worth in Manila.

Nguyen Quang Hai (Vietnam)

Quang Hai is set to captain the Vietnam team, which is filled with rising talents, and there is no doubt that head coach Park Hang-seo will be fancying his side’s chances at the tournament. The 22-year-old helped his club Hanoi FC reach the Inter-Zone Play-Off Final of the AFC Cup 2019 this season and also played a pivotal role in Vietnam’s progression to the AFC Asian Cup 2019 quarterfinals in January.

Muhammad Rafli (Indonesia)

20-year-old Rafli made a name for himself after scoring in both of Indonesia U-23’s clashes against Iran U-23 in their preparation for the SEA Games 2019. With Indra Sjafri’s side lacking an out-and-out striker, the onus could very much be on Rafli to help Indonesia build on their AFF U22 Championship title by walking away with a gold medal in the Philippines.

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