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Tuesday, January 9, 2007
ESPNsoccernet: January 15, 4:43 PM UK
2007 ASEAN Football Championship

Phil Holland

Between January 12th and February 3rd eight nations will contest the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship in stadiums across Singapore and Thailand.

Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines and Vietnam join the two host nations to contest the biennial tournament for the right to call themselves champions of Southeast Asia.

With regional glory to play for we look ahead to the tournament by profiling four of the players who could set the championships alight.

Ponaryo Astaman. Indonesia - midfield.

Ponaryo Astaman, Indonesia's 27-year-old midfielder star, began his playing career in Balikpapan with his home team Persiba and has also enjoyed a stint in Malaysia with the Telekom Malaysia side.

It came as no surprise when Ponaryo was selected as Indonesian League Player of the Year in 2004, following back-to-back awards by local broadcaster ANTV for best Midfield Player in 2003 and 2004.

Described as the 'Vieira' and midfield general of the Indonesia team, the talismanic playmaker has captained the national team for the last two years, impressing observers with his discipline, level-headed attitude and vision on the pitch.

Ponaryo was instrumental in Indonesia's most successful Asian Games appearance and also gave the country its first victory in the Asian Cup in 2004.
Boots: Nike FW 9 Tiempo

Zaquan Adha Radzak. Malaysia - striker.

'When you doubt yourself, you limit your potential, so you fall short. But if you believe in yourself, it motivates you to succeed and you can achieve anything', so says 19-year-old Malaysian striker Zaquan Adha Radzak, no stranger to success, despite his tender years.

As a result of his father's strict 'military style' training regime Zaquan tasted victory by the age of 10 when he helped his school win the U-12 District level championships.

Making it to the quarter-finals of the Nike Cup, his secondary school team eventually lifted the U-15 National Championship trophy, with Zaquan emerging as the Man-of-the-Match in their final game.

He first donned the Malaysian national team shirt when he was selected for the U-14 squad; unsurprisingly, he was also eventually reselected for the U-20 side.

He currently plays a pivotal role in the Negri Sembilan state team. In the AFF youth tournament in 2005, he led the Malaysian U-20 team to victory and was also the top striker in the tournament with a total haul of nine goals.
Boots: Nike Air Zoom Total 90 Supremacy

Indra Sadhan. Singapore - forward.

Twenty-seven-year-old Singaporean forward Indra Sadhan's enduring relationship with football started the same way as most kids in Singapore, on basketball courts in residential neighborhood and after representing his schools was eventually picked for the National U-15 squad.

At senior level, he was the first local-born player to hit 100 goals in the S-league and has also twice been awarded the Young Player of the year award, and at the time of writing he has garnered close to 70 caps and over 20 International goals.

His career highlights? Scoring against Manchester United during a pre-season tour by the Old Trafford club, together with goals against Japan in the World Cup Qualifiers in 2004.
Boots: Nike Air Zoom Total 90 Supremacy

Teeratep 'Leesaw' Winothai. Thailand - forward.

Fond of kicking tennis balls around, Leesaw's father recognized some talent and quickly put him under the charge of the football coach at the Bangkok Christian School.

As a school player, his performance was outstanding and he was selected to join the National Youth Team at 14, before the national team welcomed him barely two years later.

He went on to study at Brentwood school in the UK, where despite cultural and language barriers, he made it to Crystal Palace FC's youth side.

He made his first SEA Games appearance when he was only 16 yrs old, even managing to score a goal in the semi-final. He was also vice-captain in the Thai U-23 team at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

A determined young man Leesaw has advice for all: 'Despite the lack of support I have never given up. The best lesson in life is to learn about yourself. It's important to be able to embrace new things, to be constantly hungry to learn, and to always be determined and disciplined. And remember this: Don't fear. Go the extra mile and fly high!'
Boots: Nike Mercurial Vapor III

So, there you have it; four men from four countries that will take part in the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship, but which will triumph? Stick with ESPNsoccernet for full coverage of the tournament: Checkout a full breakdown of the fixtures and once the event is underway check back for all the latest results and full stats.

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