Preview: 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

By Paul Masefield

It is that time of the year when South East Asia's most prestigious tournament looks to get underway. I for one can't wait for the action to start especially in Group B, which to me to be the group of death.

Reigning champions Malaysia will play host with former champions Singapore, 2008's runners-up Indonesia and Laos who placed second in the qualifying tournament.

For me, I can see three good teams in a group that could come down to goal difference who will qualify for the later stages of the competition. However that being said, I don't think Singapore has the strength in depth as the Malaysian and the Indonesian teams.

Laos should be the whipping boys of the group. They drew one game in the last edition of the tournament versus Thailand but have only ever won two games in the eight times the tournament has been held.

Singapore will once again rely heavily on 42-year-old Alexander Duric to get them the goals. But he needs the service and after seeing the Lions play a few times this year, I don't believe that they have the quality in midfield that Malaysia and Indonesia have.

Malaysia under K.Rajagopal were fantastic in the last edition of this tournament, and having home advantage and a partisan crowd behind them will spur them on. Rajagopal has opted to go for a younger more inexperienced team. They have had some disappointing results in the warm up games and they will need to pick up their form if they are going to retain the title. They do have a solid back four and going forwards they will need the goals of Muhammad Safee.

Indonesia are my dark horses for the title this year. Credible draws with Vietnam and Cameroon in their warm up games show that Nil Maizar is getting the balance of the team right. He is also stamping his mark on the team by introducing a lot of younger players whilst still managing to keep the senior players like Eli Aiboy and Bambang Pamungas.

It's going to be very tough and very tight group B, but I can't wait to see who comes out on top and who qualifies from the group of death.

Former professional footballer Paul Masefield has previously played in England and Asia and is ESPN STAR Sports' football pundit and commentator. Catch him on the LIVE coverage of the AFF Suzuki Cup when Singapore plays against Malaysia on ESPN (SingTel mio TV Ch 114) at 8.30pm

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders The Malaysian Insider
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders

    Malaysian leaders have been reminded not to look down on the public’s capability to topple a corrupt government as what had happened in the Middle East during the Arab spring, warned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic). In his latest blog posting today, the country’s longest serving prime minister said that monarchs and dictators in the Middle East... …