On 16 August 2018, the closing activities of the 2018 ‘Soong Ching Ling Cup’ ASEAN-China Youth Football Friendly Matches were held successfully in the National Football Training Centre in Xianghe, Hebei province. Mr. Hang Yuanxiang, Executive Vice Chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, H.E. Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Centre, Mr. Li Yuyi, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Football Association, H.E. Mr. Thit Linn Ohn, Ambassador of Myanmar to China and representatives of ASEAN Embassies to China attended the above activities.
Executive Vice Chairman Hang Yuanxiang said in his remarks that China Soong Ching Ling Foundation has been jointly holding the ‘Soong Ching Ling Cup’ ASEAN-China Youth Football Friendly Matches with the Chinese Football Association and ASEAN-China Centre for three consecutive years. This event takes football as a medium to promote youth sports development, enhance youth exchanges and promote mutual understanding between China and ASEAN countries. China Soong Ching Ling Foundation will continue to strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges and build a better future for ASEAN-China strategic partnership.
Vice President Li Yuyi said that the government of China takes football revitalization as an important task in reaching the goal of developing Chinese sports and building China into a powerful sports nation. The development of football is inseparable from the support of the society, and the happiness of children leads to healthy and sustainable development of sport. The Chinese Football Association will continue to fully support ‘Soong Ching Ling Cup’ ASEAN-China Youth Football Friendly Matches and wish this event yield greater influence.
Secretary-General Chen Dehai expressed sincere thanks to all young players from both ASEAN and China for their active participation and wonderful performance. He said that 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of ASEAN-China strategic partnership. The two sides are closely working together to deepen practical cooperation in various fields to forge a closer community with shared future. Football is one of the most popular sports that are widely favoured by people in the world. Youth is the hope of a country’s football development. ASEAN-China Centre has been co-hosting this event with China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Football Association for three consecutive years, with an aim to strengthen ASEAN-China youth friendship and understanding through sports and cultural exchanges, promote the common development of football and contribute to the long-term development of ASEAN-China relations. He expected the young players to continue to actively participate in ASEAN-China exchanges in the future and become envoys of ASEAN-China friendly relations.
The friendly matches started on 11 August. A total of eight U12 youth football teams from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and China participated in it. Singapore sent an observer delegation to attend the event for the first time. After fierce competition, Lao PDR won the championship, Thailand and China won the second and third places respectively. The most valuable player award was presented to Thailand. Lao PDR won the top scorer award and the top goalkeeper award. Myanmar received the fair competition award. On 17 August, young players from ASEAN and China went to Beijing to visit the Forbidden City and the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Centre for Young People for cultural exchange activities.'