Asian football

PH grouped with Vietnam, Laos in AFF U23 Championship

Delfin Dioquino

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PH grouped with Vietnam, Laos in AFF U23 Championship

BATTLE. The Philippine Azkals in action during the 2023 SEA Games.

Philippine Football Federation Facebook page

The Philippine Azkals U23 face a tall order as they got bunched with two teams that reached the medal rounds of the previous AFF U23 Championship

MANILA, Philippines – It will be another uphill climb for the Philippine Azkals U23 in the ASEAN Football Federation U23 Championship.

The Philippines got bunched with defending champion Vietnam and Laos in Group C following the draw on Monday, May 29, for the regional tournament set to run in Thailand from June 17 to 26.

A total of 10 teams will be vying for the title, with host and former champion Thailand looking to get the job done in Group A after back-to-back runner-up finishes in the past two editions.

The Azkals U23 have never made it past the group stage in AFF U23 Championship history, suffering early exits in 2005, 2019, and 2022.

Last year, the Philippines got the boot after finishing third in its group with one win, one loss, and one draw.

Breaking that dry spell will be a tall order for the Azkals U23 as Vietnam went unbeaten in its title run, while Laos shared the bronze with Timor Leste after their third-place match got cancelled.

Joining Thailand in Group A are Myanmar, Cambodia, and Brunei.

Newly crowned Southeast Asian Games champion Indonesia is in Group B with Malaysia and Timor Leste. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.