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Sunday, December 13, 2009 , Posted by samakomlao at 5:26 AM

The tag minnows is no longer applicable to Laos football - men or women. Since making their appearance at the 1995 SEA Games in Thailand, the Laotian national side has been a constant feature of the biennial Asean Football Championships. Following their win over Brunei and the Philippines in 1995, they followed it up with a victory over Malaysia in the Jakarta SEA Games two years later. Enroute to a place in the semi-finals this year, Laos had also drawn against Myanmar (1-1) and Singapore (0-0) while beaten Indonesia 2-0.

And tomorrow, they will be looking to scalp the Malaysians for the second time in 12 years to win a place in the final. LFF president Phouvanh Vongsouthi said that the progress made by the national side or in this case the national Under-23 squad was due to a revamp in the programme.

"We are changing the way we look at our development programmes where we have come to rely more on the close relationships we have with several countries in the region to develop our football," said Phouvanh.

"For the current SEA Games, we sent our U23 team for an attachment to Vietnam with club Hoang Anh Gia Lai where for more than a year, all their expenses in terms of training, lodging and whatever were all taken care of by the Vietnam club.

"I believe for us, it is a better way of developing our football since Laos is a small country and we firmly believe in the ideals of the ASEAN brotherhood."

Domestic competitions are also active with over 60 clubs competing at various levels even though it is mostly restricted to the amateur levels with the top teams from the government ministries or public services. As the Laos men’s football chart further into the unknown, their women’s team will be up against Vietnam in a crucial match later today to see if they can win a place in the final against Thailand on December 16.

The Laotian girls began their campaign in women’s football this year with a 1-1 draw against Myanmar, a 4-1 loss to defending champions Thailand and then a 5-0 win over Malaysia.

Source: SEAG

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