By: Lim Wei Hao
The high standard of football on display at the 18th ASEAN University Games (AUG) can only benefit smaller nations such as Timor Leste, according to Timor Leste football coach Manuel Da Costa Soares.
With two games of football played, Timor Leste can hold their heads high with one victory and one defeat recorded so far.
Despite their population numbering close to 1.2 million, all 23 Timor-Lestians represent their respective clubs in the Liga Futebol Amadora, the national amateur league.
Soares, a former professional player and also the current assistant coach for the national team, commented that the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) and AUG is of a similar standard.
“The two competitions are not very different. It (AUG) is a good experience for our players,” said 51-year-old Soares.
Soares has set the target of reaching the semi-finals. Their chances were dented when they were gunned down 3 – 1 by defending champions Thailand in the second round of games of the AUG Football competition.
Despite the setback, Jose Carlos Da Fonseca, Timor Leste’s captain, is confident that his team will “fight fight fight in the last game”. Timor Leste will take on Laos on Wednesday in the final group stage game.