FFT's Five Finds: Malaysia fighting for fans’ affection

Fans around Southeast Asia may be missing seeing their clubs in action but there is plenty going on with the national teams. FourFourTwo looks at the big issues in the region. 

Malaysia need to win back nation's affections

Three points, three goals and a clean sheet; the win over Timor Leste in the first leg of the third round of qualification was exactly what the team, coach, media and fans needed.

The most important thing is getting into the third round to be in contention for the Asian Cup, a tournament that Malaysia absolutely need to be at.

The priority is more of the same in the second leg – a professional performance.

It is necessary to show that this new Malaysia is capable of such a thing. That the Tigers are capable of being boring and just ensuring that Tuesday's game passes without incident.

The lack of fans at the Larkin showed that the country is not feeling much love for the national team at the moment.

It is going to take time to fix and it is going to be a step-by-step process. The next move is to do the right job against Timor Leste.

Thailand confirmed as Southeast Asia's best

Thailand showed their class against Syria and Jordan

Not that it was needed but Thailand took the region's number one spot in FIFA's rankings, moving above the Philippines.

And then to confirm that position, the War Elephants won the King's Cup, defeating strong West Asian oppositions.

First came a penalty shootout triumph over Syria and then a 2-0 victory over Jordan in Sunday's final.

Teerasil Dangda and Chanathip Songkrasin often hog the headlines in the Land of Smiles but this time  it was Kroekit Thawikan's turn to be beaming.

The attacker scored both goals in the second half as Thailand turned up the heat after a turgid opening period.

Perfect preparation then for the start of the final round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in June and a real confidence booster.

Thailand were not at their best in either of the two games but lifting the cup for the first time in nine years will do the team no harm at all.

Good result for Singapore but performances have to follow

Singapore scraped another win over Myanmar again

New boss V. Sundramoorthy needed a good result in his first game up in Myanmar. He got one and in doing so managed to do what Malaysia did not in Yangon and got the win.

For the second successive home game however, the White Angels can feel aggrieved that they did not get a better result as for much of the match, Gerd Zeise's men were in the ascendancy. If only the team had a goalscorer, they could be a real force.

Singapore may not have been especially impressive going forward, with little to offer until late in the game.

But there was a pleasing solidity at the back with Hassan Sunny putting in another great display.

It is at least something to build on ahead of future tests.