Two European-based Players in U23 NT Squad
Image property of Ian Foto Sport
Today, with exactly one week until Mongolia kicks off its qualifying campaign for the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup, head coach Ichiro Otsuka announced his 23-man squad for the matches. Mongolia begins qualification on 6 September against group hosts Saudi Arabia. Joining Mongolia and the hosts in Group J are Cambodia and Lebanon.
While the majority of players are familiar to fans of the Mongolian Premier League, two players not only ply their trade outside of the league, but outside of the continent. Both players are currently playing in lower division leagues in Europe, namely in Czechia and Austria. Below Mongolian Football Central introduces these players who have not previously been in the junior Blue Wolves setup.
Andersen Filip Chinzorig, better known by his full name of Filip Solongo Hofman Andersen in his birth country of Denmark, was born on 13 February 2003. The 20-year-old defender was born near Karlslunde about 25km southwest of Copenhagen to one Mongolian and one Danish parent. He began his career with local team Karlslunde IF before joining Superliga club and 11-time Danish champion Brondby IF in 2015. From 2015 to 2022 he made his way through the youth ranks up to the U19 side and amassed six caps with the Denmark under-16 national team.
While in the Brondby academy, Andersen experienced much success including winning the Brondby Cup multiple times and beating clubs such as Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, and Sporting Lisbon in a tournament in Spain. In 2017 he and the club participated in a tournament in Qatar hosted by the famous Aspire Academy featuring other top clubs from around the world.
In September 2021 his development was noticed by the Danish Football Association and he was invited to the under-19 national team for the first time. He would go on to make three appearances for the national selection. Two of those appearances included matches against Northern Ireland and Czechia in qualification for the 2022 UEFA Under-19 Championship.
When his contract with Brondby expired on 30 June 2022, Andersen made the switch to FC Roskilde of the third tier to continue his development. He made his Danish Cup debut on 18 October 2022 in a 2022-2023 Third-Round match against Fremad Amager. Roskilde lost the matchup1-2 with Andersen starting the match and playing the full 90 minutes. Andersen made five league appearances during the season as Roskilde narrowly avoided relegation to the 3rd Division.
Earlier this month, after a year with Roskilde, Andersen made the move abroad, joining FC Slavia Karlovy Vary of the Bohemian Football League. The competition is one of the regional leagues that comprise the third tier of Czech football. So far, Andersen has appeared in the club's first four league matches of the season, playing every minute, and has made a further appearance in the 23/24 Czech Cup.
With first-team minutes finally under his belt, the former Danish youth international should be a welcome addition to the Mongolian squad.
Batbayar with Deren FC in 2023. Image property of the club.
The Mongolian-born, Austrian-raised Batbayar has played for a number of teams in the country since at least 2013. The 22-year-old midfielder started his career with GSV Wacker before bouncing to LUV Graz, SV Thal, SC Kalsdorf, SV Feldbach, SV Gossendorf, and ASK Koflach over the next decade.
Batbayar made his debut in Mongolian football during the 2022/23 Mongolian Premier League season. He became a valuable member of the Deren FC squad after signing a 1-year deal in early 2023. Unfortunately, the player suffered a season-ending injury and returned to Austria with three matches remaining in the season. The injury also kept the player out of national team action as Blue Wolves manager Ichiro Otsuka named him to the senior squad for the 2023 Intercontinental Cup in India.
Since returning to Austria, the player joined SU Rebenland on 26 July 2023. The club competes in the Oberliga Mitte-West, the sixth tier of Austrian football. He has found himself as a regular starter in the league.
All matches played
6 September 2023:Saudi Arabia vs. Mongolia
9 September 2023: Mongolia vs. Cambodia
12 September 2023: Lebanon vs. Mongolia