Football: Singapore drawn to face Thailand, Philippines again in AFF Suzuki Cup group
SINGAPORE: Singapore will face Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and the winner of a qualification round clash – Brunei or Timor Leste – in Group A of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
The groups were drawn on Tuesday (Sep 21), conducted virtually for the first time in the tournament’s history due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos will play in Group B.
Initially slated to be held last year, the Suzuki Cup was pushed back to April this year. It was later rescheduled to take place between Dec 5 and Jan 1, 2022.
The biennial tournament will be held at a centralised venue, with further details to be shared in the coming weeks, said AFF Major General Khiev Sameth in his speech before the draw.
Seeded seventh, Singapore had been placed in Pot 4 for the draw, together with Cambodia (eighth seed).
Pot 1 contained defending champions Vietnam and Thailand (joint-top seeds), which means they cannot be drawn together.
Malaysia (third seed) and Myanmar (fourth seed) were paired in Pot 2, while Pot 3 comprised the Philippines and Indonesia (joint-fifth seeds).
Pot 5 is made up of Laos (ninth seed) and the winner of the qualification round between Timor Leste (10th seed) and Brunei (11th seed).
The seeds for the 10-team tournament were determined based on each country’s ranking points earned over the 2016 and 2018 editions. In the last edition of the tournament, Vietnam beat Malaysia over two legs in the final to claim the trophy for the second time in the competition’s 20-year history.
The Lions were dumped out in the group stages in 2018.
Despite wins over Indonesia and Timor Leste, Singapore fell to a 1-0 defeat to the Philippines and were roundly beaten 3-0 by Thailand.
The Lions finished third in the group with six points, with the first two nations progressing.
While Singapore has won the regional tournament four times, the last time the Lions emerged victorious was in 2012 under coach Raddy Avramovic.