Tough for Malaysia in AFF Cup

Malaysia coach Kim Pan-gon react during the match against Kyrgyzstan’s on the World Cup 2026 qualifiers match at National Stadium, Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.— MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian football team will need to put their best foot forward as they have been drawn in the same group with defending champions Thailand for the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.

The Harimau Malaya are in Group A with Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, and the winner of the qualification fixture between Brunei and Timor-Leste as the tournament is set to kick off on November 23-December 21.

"It’s an interesting draw as we will be facing defending champions Thailand. Another challenge will be neighbours Singapore," said national coach Kim Pan-gon after the draw ceremony held in Vietnam today.

With top teams Selangor and Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) likely to not release their top players during the tournament period, the hunt will be on for Pan-gon to recruit the best available players to compete.

"We will also be facing Cambodia and another team that will enter from the qualification match.

"So we will try to get the best manpower to build the best team and fight for this Cup," he said.

Vietnam are together with Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, and Laos in Group B.

Malaysia will want to start off strong in the group stage, especially against Thailand as the War Elephants knocked them out in the semi-finals at the 2022 edition.

With their win at the previous edition, Thailand have seven titles (1996, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2022) under their belt and are the most successful team in the tournament’s history.

Singapore sit in second, having won four editions (1998, 2004, 2007, 2012), while Malaysia have only won once in 2010 and are behind Vietnam with two titles (2008, 2018).

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