Having cast an eye over the young talent in Group A last week, we now turn our attention to the second of the two sections for the forthcoming AFF Suzuki Cup, a tournament that’s set to prove once again the ideal stage for the region’s elite youngsters to shine.

In a group that contains both of the 2016 finalists as well as some rising powers, there’s an emphasis on attacking talent in a tournament that could well see the goals flow, with several of these starlets hoping to power their nation to the ultimate prize in Southeast Asian football.

Supachai Jaided (Thailand)


Given that the nation’s long-term frontman, Teerasil Dangda, won't feature at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup there’s an opening up front for the defending champions and one of the Thailand’s most gifted youngsters, Supachai Jaided, will be hoping to fill that void.

Part of an impressive crop of technically gifted young players, the 19-year-old is perhaps best suited playing just off the shoulder of another forward or even in a wider role, but having impressed in a more advanced position in recent friendlies he’s looming as a genuine option to cover for Teerasil.

A key cog in an impressive Buriram side that’s won back-to-back domestic titles and already a regional champion at youth level, having featured in the 2015 AFF U-19 Championship title-winning campaign, Supachai is a name to watch closely at the Southeast Asian showpiece.

Egy Maulana (Indonesia)


Having only recently turned 18, the Indonesian prodigy could be one of the youngest players set to feature at the AFF Suzuki Cup and, having long been touted as a rising star for the Merah Putih, this could be his chance to finally announce his international arrival.

Blessed with dazzling feet and outstanding close control, the Poland-based forward is a nightmare for opposing defenders, as he showed at the 2017 AFF U-19 Championship where not only was he selected as the best player of the tournament but he also won the Golden Boot.

Equally capable of creating and scoring, Egy is one of the most exciting young prospects to have emerged from Southeast Asian football in quite a while and look for him to make a real impact for an Indonesian side that loom as genuine title contenders.

Luke Woodland (Philippines)

The Philippines appear set to take a different tack to many of their Group B rivals by opting to go with a more experienced squad, but one of the youngsters that could be given a chance is Luke Woodland.

Born in the UAE to an English father and a Filipino mother, the 23-year-old (pictured above, centre) has had a nomadic career to date with stints at several English clubs being followed by a spell in the Philippines and then Thailand.

During that time he’s shown his versatility in being able to line up in both central midfield and defence and with new Azkals coach, Scott Cooper, looking set to go with a three-man backline, Woodland is pushing for a start on the right side of that trio. Given he’s impressed in recent friendly outings, the young defender could bring an assured touch to one of the region’s most ambitious national teams.

Ikhsan Fandi (Singapore)


Tall, fast and powerful – the 19-year-old forward certainly has the traits to be a real success at a position that has plagued Singapore for several years.

Having been handed a chance to lead the line in recent friendly matches by new national coach Fandi Ahmad (who also happens to be his father), there’s a good chance that the 19-year-old may be tasked with a similar assignment when the Lions get their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign underway against Indonesia next month.

With part of his youth career spent in Spain and Chile, the strapping forward has shown the ‘flair’ elements of his game that he developed in those nations with a willingness to take on defenders, and if he can improve his scoring output he could be the long-term solution up front for Singapore.


Henrique (Timor-Leste)

Timor-Leste have dramatically overhauled their squad in recent years to place a real emphasis on youth, and they could well bring one of the youngest teams to the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The advantage, though, is that many of those players have already been in the national set-up for a couple of years and nowhere is that combination better illustrated than in the dynamic forward Henrique.

Along with fellow 20-year-old striker Rufino Gama, Henrique is part of a dangerous two-man frontline that has plundered goals at youth level as well as catching the eye in their senior outings.

Given his blend of pace, trickery and close control, Henrique is certainly a player that could be a real breakout star at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.