Pan Gon ready for AFF Cup war

NATIONAL coach Kim Pan Gon will get a taste of the AFF Cup war come December.

Pan Gon's Harimau Malaya are in Group B with Park Hang Seo's Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and fast-rising Laos.

The tournament, which will use the home-and-away format, starts on Dec 23 and ends on Jan 15, 2023.

The AFF Cup will serve as a test for Pan Gon and his boys in the build-up to the Asian Cup.

Group A, meanwhile, comprises defending champion Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and either Timor Leste or Brunei.

Last year, former coach Tan Cheng Hoe resigned after the team did not qualify for the AFF Cup semi-finals in Singapore.

Vietnam and Singapore will be Malaysia's biggest obstacles this year. Harimau Malaya have lost to Vietnam in their last seven encounters in the tournament since 2014.

It has always been a close affair in the Causeway derby between Malaysia and Singapore.

In Pan Gon's first match as national coach, his team lost 2-1 to Singapore on March 26 last year in the Tri-Nation Series.

Pan Gon believes it is a favourable draw.

"It is a good draw, although Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar are in our group. Vietnam are the strongest team in the group.

"Hang Seo has a complete team. Singapore, Myanmar and Loas have good teams.

"We do not care whether the teams are strong or weak, we will do our best in every game," said the South Korean coach.

Malaysia last won the AFF Cup in 2010 under then-coach K. Rajagobal.

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