The AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 is littered with talent from every nation. However, one of the biggest things to watch out for are overseas-born players representing their respective countries in the campaign.
Teams like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have players who were not born elsewhere but chose to suit up in their respective Asian nations.
This simply shows how far football’s reach is and how big the Suzuki Cup really is for the battling nations as they bring in the best their countries have to offer.
Here are 10 foreign-born stars who are set to shine in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
MIKA CHUNUONSEE – DEFENDER – THAILAND
First on the list is defender MIka Chunuosee who is currently making his debut in the competition. The 29-year-old plays for Bangkok United but was born in Bridgend, Wales.
Chunuonsee’s father is Thai, while his mother is Welsh. He would go and spend two years in Cardiff City’s youth club before joining Bryntirion Athletic in 2007. He spent two years in various Welsh clubs before arriving to Thailand to play for Muangthong United.
Playing only six games with the team, the defender moved from one team to another until eventually landing a spot with Bangkok United in 2014. Finding a home, Chunuonsee has played 133 games for the squad so far and has scored 12 goals.
In the international level, Chunuonsee represented Wales in three U-17 games but never featured in senior level. For Thailand, he’s won two international caps from 2015 and won the King’s Cup in 2016. He is looking forward to having a great campaign in the Suzuki Cup.
NEIL ETHERIDGE – GOALKEEPER – PHILIPPINES
One of the biggest names in the AFF Suzuki Cup, Neil Etheridge was born in Enfield, London, England and currently plays for Premier League club Cardiff City.
Growing through the youth ranks of Chelsea and Fulham, Etheridge has spent his entire club career across Europe, with stints with Bristol Rovers, Charlton Athletic and Crewe Alexandra.
He has one international cap for England U-16 and has 61 international caps for the Philippines.
Etheridge is one of the big names responsible for football’s reimurgence in the Philippines.
MANUEL BIHR – DEFENDER – THAILAND
Joining Chunuonsee in the line-up is his Bangkok United teammate Manuel Bihr. Another defender, Bihr was born in Herrenberg, Germany to his German father and Thai mother.
The centre-back would go on and learn through the ranks of VfB Stuttgart where he spent four years before moving on to senior football. Bihr played for 1. FC Nurnberg II where he played 58 games.
However, Bihr did get to play eight matches for 1. FC Nurnberg I before moving on to play for Stuttgarter Kickers from 2015 to 2016.
Since then, he’s successfully found a home with Bangkok United and already has 53 appearances with the squad.
Only featuring in the Thai national team in 2017, Bihr has had three international caps, with the first few call-ups not ending up in minutes on the pitch. Bihr finally played for the War Elephants against Kenya in a friendly where he was in the starting XI.
With his first tournament in the 2018 King’s Cup, much is expected of the 25-year-old when he plays in the Suzuki Cup.
JOHN-PATRICK STRAUß – MIDFIELDER – PHILIPPINES
Another German who plays for the Philippines, John-Patrick Strauß was born in Wetzlar and is a 22-year-old midfielder.
Strauß played with RB Leipzig but currently plays with Erzgebirge Aue where he has 16 caps so far for the club.
Relatively new to the Azkals, Strauß has only one international cap for the team so far and should have enough chances to shine during the AFF Suzuki Cup.
BETO GONCALVES – FORWARD – INDONESIA
One of the most experienced players on this list, Alberto Goncalves da Costa is 37 years old and was born in Belem, Brazil.
He currently plays for Indonesian club Sriwijaya and has 84 appearances with the team while scoring 57 goals.
Despite being in his late 30s, Goncalves only has two international caps to his name, playing in friendlies against Myanmar and Hong Kong. He scored on both appearances and will look to bring his prolific scoring talents to Tim Garuda.
KEVIN DEEROMRAM – DEFENDER – THAILAND
One of the youngest players in the War Elephants’ squad, Kevin Deeromram is only 21 years and has a Swedish father and Thai mother.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Deeromram spent his youth career with Djurgardends IF from 2013 to 2015 then spent some time with German club Werder Bremen on loan.
In 2017, he moved back to Asia to play for Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC where he played 25 games, scoring one goal.
He currently plies his trade with Port Football Club.
As for his international career, he played with Sweden’s U-17 and U-19s. However, he featured in Thailand’s U-23 where he won the Sea Games Gold Medal. Ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup, he has one international cap in Thailand’s senior team.
PHIL YOUNGHUSBAND – STRIKER – PHILIPPINES
One of the biggest names in Philippine football and one half of the Younghusband brothers that helped the nation reach their current fooball state, Phil was born in Ashford, Surrey, England and grew through the youth ranks of Chelsea.
He was sent on loan to Danish club Esbjerg fB but didn’t feature in any games so he came to the Philippines and played for teams like San Beda FC and Meralco Manila and Davao Aguilas.
Phil has 99 international caps for the Azkals and has scored an 51 goals in the process making him the most capped and the record holder for most goals scored.
STEFANO LILIPALY – MIDFIELDER – INDONESIA
Born in Arnhem, Netherlands, Stefano Lilipaly is a 28-year-old attacking midfielder who has an Indonesian father and Dutch mother.
Currently playing with Bali United, Lilipaly started off his youth career with DCG but would also play for AZ and FC Utrecht.
Lilipaly was part of the Dutch U-17 team but switched to Indonesia for the U-23 squad. He played five games and scored four goals in the process.
Moving to the senior squad in 2013, Lilipaly has featured in 15 international games for Indonesia, scoring two goals for the nation.
In the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, he was part of the competition’s best XI.
PHILIP ROLLER – DEFENDER – THAILAND
The last Thai on the list is Philip Roller who was born in Munich, Germany to a German father and Thai mother.
At 24 years old, he currently plays for Ratchaburi Mitr Phol but has played in German clubs like TSV Grunbach and SVN Zweibrucken in his younger years.
He rose through the youth ranks of 1. FC Eislingen, SSV Ulm, Grasshoppers and Stuttgarter Kickers.
Already with six international caps for Thailand, Roller has scored once, in a friendly against Hong Kong.
STEPHAN SCHROCK – MIDFIELDER – PHILIPPINES
One of the Philippines’ experienced players in the AFF Suzuki Cup, Stephan Schrock was born in Schweinfurt, West Germany.
At 32 years old, Schrock has a wealth of experience, playing Bundesliga teams like 1899 Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt and SpVgg Greuther Furth.
He currently plays with Ceres-Negros where his role interchanges from midfielder and defender.
Schrock played for Germany’s U-18, U-19 and U-20 national teams but chose the Philippines where he currently has 25 caps where he has four goals.