Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tough draw for Malaysia in AFF Cup

MALAYSIA have been drawn in a tough group in the AFF Suzuki Cup with defending champions Singapore and runners-up Thailand in the tournament on Nov 22-Dec 20.

In the draw conducted in Hanoi yesterday, Malaysia were pooled in Group B, where Singapore will play host at their newly built 55,000-capacity National Stadium.

The fourth team in the group will likely be Myanmar, who are expected to win the qualifying round comprising hosts Laos, Brunei, Timor Leste and Cambodia on Oct 12-20.

Vietnam will host Group A, comprising the Philippines, Indonesia and the runners-up of the qualifying round.

Malaysia will open their campaign in the eight-day group stage against a qualifier on Nov 23, followed by Thailand three days later and arch-rivals Singapore on Nov 29.

The first leg of the semi-finals is scheduled on Dec 6 and 7 with the return leg slated for Dec 10 and 11. The first leg of the final is on Dec 17 followed by the second leg three days later.

Malaysia, semi-finalists two years ago, have set a target of reaching the final. They last won the tournament in 2010. In the 2012 final, Singapore edged Thailand 3-2 on aggregate.

FA of Malaysia (FAM) general-secretary Hamidin Mohd Amin said national coach Dollah Salleh will need to prepare his team comprehensively for the competition.

“We have been handed a tough draw but the other group is also equally strong. I believe playing in Singapore is much better than in Vietnam. We will definitely get good support from our fans,” said Hamidin when contacted in Hanoi yesterday.

“All teams are preparing well for the tournament. Singapore have just returned from a stint in Austria while Thailand are preparing for a trip outside the region. Indonesia are in Italy and as for Myanmar, they are heading to Spain for friendly matches.”



NST

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