SEA Games set to be changed to U21 competition?

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Thailand's Thitiphan Puangjan (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal against Indonesia in their men's football semifinals match during the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore on June 13, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN        (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Asean Football Federation () will propose to the South-East Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) that the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Under-23 football competition be made an Under-21 tournament.

AFF secretary general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad explained that the reason behind the call “is to have a continuation on youth development in the region”.

The AFF currently have competitions for the Under-17 and Under-19 age groups while the the AFF Suzuki Cup is for the seniors, but there are no Under-21 competitions.

“We feel there’s a void for the Under-21 age group and the SEA Games can help fill the gap. The SEA Games could also be a part of the Asean teams’ preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying campaign,” said Azzuddin.

The Olympic qualifiers will take place in 2019, and the players from the Under-21 teams in 2017 could play key roles in the qualifying campaign.

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