Thailand's football player Sumanya Purisai (Photo: Getty Images)

 

Hanoi (VNA) – Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 is, on paper, the tougher of the two groups, the ESPN sport website has reported.

The group comprises Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Timor Leste.

The AFF Suzuki Cup will take place from November 8 to December 15 at 12 different stadiums in Southeast Asia.

[Vietnam, Malaysia have advantages in AFF Cup’s Group A: ESPN]

Thailand
After their exploits during qualification for the 2018 World Cup, the War Elephants - going for a third successive AFF Cup crown - have been taking on some African, Caribbean and European oppositions recently and have looked pretty good.

Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac has made Thailand more organised and harder to beat than in the past. Happy to name a young and fairly inexperienced squad, Rajevac may have an eye on the Asian Cup in January but his team will not give up their title easily.

Bangkok United playmaker Sumanya Purisai has been in great form this season domestically and could be the man that makes the Thais tick in the coming weeks.

Thailand are missing a number of their best players such Chanathip Songkrasin, Teerasil Dangda and Kawin Thamsatchanan as they are busy overseas and can't be called up to this non FIFA-recognised tournament. This young team has what it takes to get out of the group but the title is a different matter.

Indonesia
There was a welcome clash with Iceland in January that ended in a 4-1 defeat but results, though not the standard of opposition, have improved since. 

Coach Bima Sakti was a late appointment to take over the team in October. At just 42, Sakti does not have much experience and has even less time with the team.

Stefano Lilipaly was an impressive figure at the 2016 edition of the AFF Cup and the Dutch-born midfielder was hard for others to handle with his runs into the area.

Singapore
After a tough few years in the city state, the team has actually been winning games of late under the management of coach Fandi Ahmad, the one-time golden boy of Singapore football. 

Hariss Harun is likely to be the captain of Singapore. Hariss was around for the 2012 triumph but is still only 27 and should be at the peak of his powers.

Singapore should be a little more confident of getting out of the group. With more experience than some rivals, the Lions are dark horses, according to experts.

Philippines

The build-up has been overshadowed by coaching issues with four in the job since June. There have been a number of training camps with mixed results. Swede coach Sven-Goran Eriksson remains to be seen as to whether his international experience can make a difference in the Philippines especially with his appointment so recent.

Striker Phil Younghusband has netted over 50 times for his country but offers more than goals. Experience and ability to lead from the front can be an inspiration. At the age of 31, he may not get a better time to win the title.

Timor Leste
The squad came through qualification to reach the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.

Coach Norio Tsukitate has plenty of experience in Asia since he took job in May. The team’s key man is Jorge Sabas Victor, who is a versatile defensive player and, despite being just 20-years-old, has already been handed the captain's armband.-VNA