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Manama: With the stars of tomorrow battling it out at the AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016, the continent’s youth football specialists gathered to discuss the football education of Asia’s aspiring and brightest talents at the second AFC Youth Panel meeting in Manama, Bahrain on Saturday.

As envisaged in the AFC’s Vision and Mission, youth football development remains a key focus area for Asian teams to succeed on the world stage as it presents the foundation at all levels, and the environment for Asia’s most promising players to develop and horn their skills.

The meeting led by AFC Technical Director Andy Roxburgh provided a good opportunity for the Members to further examine the criteria and grading system of the new Endorsement Scheme for youth academies in the Member Associations, which was proposed in the last meeting.

Though still in the conceptualisation phase, the scheme will present MAs with three progressive categories, – basic (one star), advanced (two stars) and premier (three stars) levels. In total some 20 performance categories of the basic level (one star) were given specific attention, including areas such as leadership, organisation, recruitment, coaching, and facilities, to name but a few.

AFC Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh said: “Progressive player development is one of the key factors in the future success of Asian teams”, he explained.

“Our aim here is to design the way forward - one that recognises the world’s best practices.”

In the long-term, the Endorsement Scheme aims to enhance the Member Associations’ academy programmes and eventually to raise the quality of youth development in Asia, for both the men’s and women’s game.

Photo: AFC