PETALING JAYA: France-based footballer Titus James is being sought after by national Under-20 coach Jorven Vieira for the AFC Under-20 Championship, which Malaysia will host from Sept 24-Oct 8.
The Brazilian said that his brother-in-law, who is a junior talent coach in France, had informed him about Titus, who is currently a first-team player in the Under-18 side of the Villenoy FC in Meaux.
“I have heard a lot about this boy (Titus) and if he is good, he will feature in my plans,” said Vieira, who has been preparing the national Under-20 squad since January last year.
Titus is in pursuit of his dream to play professional football in Europe.
The former pupil of the La Salle Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur attended a football school in Normandy at the tender age of 12, against his father's wishes.
He turns 18 on Aug 13 and is ready to take a major step to break into the market.
Titus had spent two years in Quevilly Sportive Union, a sister club of French First Division's Le Havre in Normandy, before moving with his foster parents to Meaux.
Vieira hoped to get in touch with Titus on whether he would be available for warm-up matches ahead of the AFC youth championships.
“I need to see him in at least test matches or tournaments. I need the best for my team,” said Vieira, who is planning at least 15 international warm-up matches.
At the moment, Vieira is working on teams of 30 boys each. He would select players from both teams for various tournaments in Europe.
In the draw for the groupings of AFC Under-20 meet yesterday, Malaysia were drawn in Group A with Japan, Vietnam and Nepal.
In Group B are China, Qatar, Indonesia and Iran. Group C comprises Uzbekistan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Laos and in Group D are defending champions South Korea, Thailand, Yemen and Iraq.
The tournament will be held in four venues – the Larkin Stadium, Perak Stadium, MPPJ Stadium and at the KL Football Stadium.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout rounds of the competition and the top four will qualify for the Under-17 World Championship next year.
Meanwhile, in the AFC Under-17 championship, which will be played in Japan from Sept 5-19, Malaysia have been drawn in Group C with India, Kuwait and Iran.