The 2nd AFC Youth Panel Meeting for the term 2022-23 met virtually yesterday to discuss ways of expanding and developing the AFC Elite Youth Scheme across Asia.
Chaired by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh, 12 panel members from 11 Member Associations (MAs) and AFC Ambassador and former South Korea legend Park Ji-sung were briefed on the AFC youth development progress in Asia.
Following Roxburgh’s welcome address, the panel received updates on the status of the AFC Elite Youth Scheme which currently endorses 20 MAs – four MAs with the highest 3-star status, five under the 2-star category and 10 are listed as 1-star while Mongolia has a provisional endorsement.
More MAs are expected to be endorsed in the AFC Elite Youth Scheme, with three MAs awaiting their 3-star evaluation while two 2-star level MAs have applied for their status to be elevated.
Ranging from maximising opportunities of educating youth coaches to the creation of elite youth competitions, the panel members engaged in an extensive dialogue that discussed new ways to improve existing elite youth structures and development.
Further, the panel held a detailed conversation on the benefits that MAs can gain by obtaining an AFC Elite Youth Scheme Membership including the credibility that comes with AFC endorsement.
Additionally, the AFC Elite Youth Scheme provides a clear guide for training and developing players who have the potential to represent their country or to play at professional level.
Speaking of the importance of being a member of the AFC Youth Scheme, Roxburgh said: “If we collate our ideas with the mission to improve standards of youth football in Asia, not only will it have a long-term positive impact on the national teams but it will also help the MAs to further develop their talent programmes.”
The members went on to enumerate some key areas of technical development that the Scheme would focus on, such as increase the number of benchmark MAs, supporting the grassroots and elite youth development staff members across Asian countries, and identifying more opportunities to collaborate with FIFA.
“Owing to COVID-19 restrictions a large number of youth footballers have lost their chance to play in top-level youth competitions. We must intensify our efforts to help our MAs rebuild their programmes in the post pandemic era,” added Roxburgh.