FourFourTwo's Southeast Asian 20 Under-20, Part II
* Words by Vijhay Vick, Kritikorn Thanamahamongkhol, Tio Utomo, Scott McIntyre and John Duerden
Sansern Limwattana – Thailand
A player who has been dubbed the “new Datsakorn Thonglao”, after the trophy-laden Thai midfielder, Sansern earned a scholarship from New Zealand legend Wynton Rufer to study and train in that country, along with his elder brother Baramee Limwattana, for three years.
Rufer tried to convince him to take New Zealand citizenship, but his desire was only to represent his homeland. Naturally this experience helped make him different to other players from the region.
He is well known for passing both short and long, which is uncommon in young Thai players, while he also possesses the character and brave tackling seen in those that hail from Oceania.
He can play both as an offensive or defensive midfielder. – KT
Phathana Phommathep – Laos
Despite his tender years, Phathana already has pundits excited about his enormous potential, with some labelling him among the best young talents Laos have produced.
A technically-gifted, creative midfielder, Phathana is a crucial part of the country's under-19 national team, playing two years up in age.
He’s capable of performing anywhere across the attacking midfield or forward lines and is blessed with a good first touch, range of passing and the movement to both find and create space.
In a perfect representation of the esteem in which he is held, the 17-year-old was called upon to try to rescue the biggest match in Laos heavyweights Lanexang's history, in the final of this year’s ultimately unsuccessful Mekong Cup against Thai giants Buriram.
Witht the chaos currently engulfing Lao football, and Lanexang pulling out of the Premier League, that development will now need to continue elsewhere. Forward-looking clubs in the region are sure to be well aware of this talented young star. – SM
Irfan Fandi – Singapore
The only Singaporean on our list, Irfan has spent virtually his whole life in the public eye due to his famous father Fandi Ahmad.
Ever since Irfan was born, there have been regular updates on whether he could be as good as the original. So far, the signs are promising.
Still only 19, the striker who also played in defence last season for Home United has appeared in the Chilean league, attempted to break into Spain, represented the Singapore national side and been on the radar of European teams.
Whatever happens, attention and expectations won't phase the young star, as he has grown up with plenty of that. The year 2017 looms as a big one for Irfan, but he is on the right track. – JD