The national football team have been handed a relatively easy draw for the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup, which will be held from Nov 19-Dec 17.
National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee, whose key performance index (KPI) is to guide the team to win the AFF Suzuki Cup, can afford a smile after Malaysia were drawn in Group B with hosts Myanmar, Vietnam and a yet-to-be-named qualifier.
The Harimau Malaysia can consider themselves lucky for avoiding Group A – the Group of Death. The group comprises two four-time winners – Singapore and defending champions Thailand – as well as Indonesia and hosts the Philippines.
Despite the relatively easy draw, Kim Swee does not think that it will be a cakewalk for his men in Yangon.
“Though some may say we have a relatively easier draw, I feel that that’s not the case. Myanmar and Vietnam are always strong … especially Myanmar at home,” said Kim Swee from Yangon, where the draw was made, on Tuesday.
“Myanmar are going to finish their league in three weeks’ time and will have two to three months to prepare their national team … so, I think they will be the favourites.
“Vietnam are always difficult opponents, so I hope that during the tournament we will have all of our best players … with the right frame of mind, we should get past the group stage.”
The 45-year-old former international said that he would prefer to meet the qualifier first before facing Vietnam and Myanmar.
“Let’s think of getting out of the qualifying stage first before thinking about who we want to meet in the semi-finals. What’s more important is to be consistent during the tournament.”
Via: The Star