Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, today opened the AFC’s Second Youth Conference in Kuala Lumpur which was aimed at identifying trends in boys’ international youth football. The three-day conference is attended by more than 100 delegates from 43 of the AFC’s Member Associations, representing the best of youth football.
Shaikh Salman, addressing guests from FIFA, UEFA, CONCACAF, CAF and AFC Member Associations, said: “Youth football is the foundation on which the future of the game is built. Success at the senior level can only be achieved through a commitment towards creating sustainable and detailed pathways for tomorrow’s generation to flourish.
“As part of the AFC’s Vision and Mission, technical development is an essential focus area for the AFC to raise the quality of football for all our Member Associations. Across the globe, youth development is evolving quickly.
“Therefore, it is essential for Asia to examine our approach to ensure our players are progressing in the best possible environment.”
The AFC President added: “This conference has also been organised at a crucial time for Asian football. Worldwide attention has focused on our Continent with the FIFA U-20 and U-17 World Cup hosted in the Korea Republic and India respectively this year.
“The delegates will benefit from an in-depth analysis of these two tournaments and gain insights on the best youth development practices in Europe and Asia. The AFC Elite Youth Scheme, which will enhance the quality of youth academies across the Continent, will also be discussed in great detail.”
There were sessions on talent identification from the Football Federation of Australia as well as sessions on club academies focusing on the experiences of the Japan FA. A special presentation was given by the Football Association on England’s successes at both the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups.
Andy Roxburgh, the AFC Technical Director, said: “The people attending this conference are in the very front line of developing young players and youth football on the Continent. They will have the opportunity to hear of development trends and they can share experiences with their colleagues. This sort of an event is invaluable for youth football in Asia.”