FFT’S SEA Games XI: Who made our list of the region's best youngsters?
GOALKEEPER: NONT MUANGNGAM, THAILAND
Kawin Thamsatchanan is arguably the best goalkeeper in Southeast Asia at present but it seems like Nont, the talented goalkeeper from Chiangrai United, could be the next one in line.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper, who was raised in Europe as his parents moved to France when he was young, has shown his ability and went six matches without conceding a goal at the Games.
GOLD MEDAL MATCH
His training in France with Nancy since the age of 12 gives him a big advantage over other young goalkeepers in the region.
His biggest strength is shot-stopping. Nont is also agile but still needs to show more confidence when coming out to claim crosses.
Impressively, he has yet to be beaten from open play since he started his professional career this year.
RIGHT-BACK: MATTHEW DAVIES, MALAYSIA
The Malaysian international did not line-up as a right-back in the tournament as he was played on the right side of midfield in a 3-4-3 formation, but considering there weren’t many standout performers in other teams and that this is his natural position, Davies gets our nod.
He has played right-back since his days back in Australia and has been among the more consistent Malaysians in the tournament.
Davies made 17 crosses against Brunei as he was allowed plenty of space. He also ventured forward a lot against Singapore and Myanmar but was forced to backtrack often against the quality the Indonesians and Thais possessed.
He ensured Febri Hariyadi and Sasalak Haiprakhon did not have free rein against the hosts. Davies was essentially a right-back in a five-man backline when Malaysia was under pressure.
CENTRE-BACK: SARINGKAN PROMSUPA, THAILAND
His performance has proved the importance of rising up the levels through the professional leagues in Thailand.
Saringkan currently plays for Rayong FC, a Thai League 2 side, but the experience gained from facing foreign strikers in the league has helped him improve quickly over the past two years. He put out an amazing performance at the SEA Games.
The 20-year-old did not make the starting line-up in the first game against Indonesia but later showed his worth in the following games. In the final game of the group stage against Vietnam, he was calm facing the speedy Vietnamese attackers.
The combative defender is a good reader of the game. Thailand didn’t concede a goal when Saringkan was on the pitch.
CENTRE-BACK: HANSAMU YAMA, INDONESIA
He received plenty of criticism from Indonesian fans because he injured Irfan Bachdim weeks before AFF Suzuki Cup 2016, but Hansamu has been playing like the incident had little effect on him mentally. Instead, he has become one of the best centre-back that Indonesia have among their ranks.
He showed it at the Suzuki Cup, again in the AFC Under-23 qualifiers and now once more in the SEA Games. His presence allowed Indonesia to be really solid at the back – not always their strength – and Luis Milla’s team missed him when he was suspended for the semi-final against Malaysia.
There’s a possibility Indonesia would have not conceded N. Thanabalan’s sole goal of the game if Hansamu had played. He’s good in the air, brilliant at tackling and reads the game well. He needs to improve his temperament though.