Malaysia have been handed a relatively easier groupings in the men’s football competition for the Manila SEA Games.
In the draw made yesterday, Malaysia have been drawn with hosts Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Timor Leste.
Malaysia were beaten 0-1 in the final at the last Games, after a howler from the goalkeeper Muhammad Haziq Nadzli early in the final. Haziq punched the goal inot his own net and it turned out to be the only goal of the final against Thailand.
An easier path to the semi-finals would still pit them against the top contenders in the knockout stages.
Defending champions Thailand, will have for company, Indonesia, Thailand as well as Singapore with Brunei likely to be the whipping boys.
Thailand are looking for their fourth straight SEA Games crown.
It would also be interesting to see whether the Thais would name Fulham’s Ben Davis in their final squad. Davis turned his back on Singapore last month after having represented the island nation in junior competitions.
With his appeal to defer his national service being rejected, Davis had decided to play for Thailand, where his mother is from.
With both Thailand and Singapore being drawn in the same group, it could turn out to be a grudge match.
In the women’s draw, Malaysia have for company both the Philippines and 2017 bronze medalists Myanmar. Defending champions Vietnam and runners-up Thailand have been drawn in the other group that includes Indonesia.
GROUP A: Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor Leste
GROUP B: Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei Laos
GROUP A: Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia
GROUP B: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia