Suzuki Cup Watch: Myanmar heads to Europe
Words by Kenneth Ho, Thanamahamongkhol Kritikorn, Vijhay Vick and Tio Prasetyo Utomo
Unlike the other nations, co-hosts Myanmar opted against playing international friendlies and instead looked to European clubs.
On a six-week trip, the White Angels played against seven different clubs from the netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus and Italy.
Myanmar gained some credible results there, with a 1-1 draw against Dutch division three side, EVV Echt, being one of them.
Gerd Zeise clearly was there to experiment, as he gave many new faces a try. He even booted star striker Kyaw Ko Ko and Thiha Zaw off the squad, with 23-year-old Kaung Sett Naing and Win Min Htut called up in their place.
Apart from the 2-2 draw with Indonesia, Vietnam also enjoyed an impressive 5-2 win over North Korea in October.
Midfielder Luong Xuan Truong, who plays for the South Korea’s Incheon United FC, was particularly impressive, as he dictated play and create a host of chances for his teammates.
Xuan Truong even got on the act himself, scoring in the 85th minute to cap off his near-perfect display.
The Vietnamese will surely be a force to reckon with at the upcoming Suzuki Cup.
Malaysia's attempt to find their momentum before the AFF Suzuki Cup took another blow after the Tigers' preparations were hampered by Johor Darul Ta'zim's refusal to allow its players to participate in extended training camp, leaving Ong Kim Swee with a big decision on whether or not to include the club's players for the regional tournament.
The Tigers visited Singapore in hopes that a match against one of their biggest rivals would lift the gloom over Malaysian football, but that did not materialise and Malaysia were left counting their lucky stars after Singapore struck the crossbar three times during the match. The tie ended scoreless.
Malaysia almost suffered another disappointing night against Afghanistan, but came out to find an equaliser to draw 1-1 at Shah Alam Stadium.
The return of Shahrom Kalam beefed up the back four, adding resilience to the defence, but elsewhere on the pitch, Malaysia are struggling to find their feet.
Shahrul Saad appears the best choice to partner Baddrol Bakhtiar in the middle but the duo have yet to show they can win the engine room battle in the Suzuki Cup.
The qualifying campaign for the 2016 Suzuki Cup is ongoing, with Brunei, Timor Leste, Laos and Cambodia vying for the final spot in Group B.
Brunei beat Timor Leste 2-1 in the campaign opener while hosts Cambodia were victorious too with a 2-1 defeat of Laos. The qualifiers will end on October 21.