Malaysia scheduled for six friendlies as preparation to AFF Suzuki Cup

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

The Malaysia national team have been scheduled for six international friendlies as preparation for November’s AFF Suzuki Cup, which is their biggest assignment this year.

Tan Cheng Hoe will assemble his men for their first match against Fiji on July 5 at Cheras Stadium.

After that, the Harimau Malaya play all their matches away.

They start with Chinese Taipei (September 7) in Taipei, Cambodia (September 10) in Phnom Penh and Sri Lanka (October 12) in Colombo.

Harimau Malaya will then return to the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil to take on Kyrgyzstan on October 16.

Malaysia are also scheduled for another friendly on November 3 in Kuala Lumpur, but their opponents are yet to be decided.

“These six friendlies will be the best preparation to improve Malaysia’s FIFA ranking of 171, and also serve as the ideal warm-up before the AFF Cup,” said Football Association of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Amin.

Enam Aksi Persahabatan Harimau Malaya Telah DisahkanPersatuan Bolasepak Malaysia (FAM) hari ini ingin memaklumkan…

Posted by Football Association of Malaysia (Official) on Thursday, 7 June 2018


At the biennial AFF Cup (November 8-December 15), Malaysia are in Group A alongside Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

They will open their group campaign against Cambodia (November 8), followed by Laos (November 12), Vietnam (November 16) and Myanmar (November 24).

On paper, Malaysia are favourites to make it to the semifinals along with Vietnam.

Tan will be eager to banish the heartache of 2016 when the national team, under the charge of Datuk Ong Kim Swee, crashed out in the group stage.

Malaysia had the same opponents then, bar Laos. Tan is expected to go with a young line-up as he prepares for this tournament.

The friendly 7-0 win over Bhutan on April 1 ended the country’s 16-month winless streak since the 2016 AFF Cup.

Tan will also cast his eyes on the Asian Games football tournament in August, as he scouts for his best team.

The AFF Cup format is rejigged this year, with all teams playing equal matches both home and away.

The new format is structured to increase the attendance and appeal of the tournament.