No one, it seems, is enjoying the Joeys’ impressive display at the AFC U-17 Asian Cup Thailand 2023 than PGFC Academy forward, Daniel Bennie.
Along with Academy team-mates Andriano Lebib, Giovanni De Abreu and Corey Sutherland, the 17-year-old has played a key role in helping Brad Maloney’s side secure a quarter-final date with traditional Asian heavyweights, Japan.
Ahead of Monday’s clash at Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok, the winner of which will automatically earn a place at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia, Bennie spoke to Football Australia about how much he is enjoying the tournament experience.
“I’m loving it,” he said.
“It’s what you dream of, really.
“Playing with all your mates, playing against other countries and testing yourself.
“Hopefully we can do well and win the tournament.
“I think I’ve done well in the games.
“A few more goals would have been nice, but I think I’ve done well.”
The camaraderie within the squad was clear to see during their group stage performances and Bennie believes that it can play a key role in driving the Joeys to what would be the country’s first ever Asian Cup triumph at this level.
“I love playing with the lads [the other strikers in the squad],” he said.
“Everyone’s playing for the team and enjoying their football and playing for each other.
“Even around the hotel, everyone is so close and connected.
“I believe in our team and I believe we can go on and win the whole tournament.”
You can watch the Joeys taking on Japan live and free on 10Play from 6pm WST on Monday (26 June).
Should they down the Blue Samurai, the young Aussies will face the winner of Iran and Yemen in the semi-finals on Thursday 29 June.
(with thanks to Rebecca Trbojevich at Football Australia)