You could sense the anticipation at the AFF Suzuki Cup draw today. Officials, guests and media on the edge of their seats, especially when it came to deciding where today’s host Indonesia would land. 
In the end, the groupings turned out to be almost similar to the 2016 edition with Indonesia drawn together in Group B with Thailand, Philippines and Singapore. This year however, with the change in format,  a fifth team (to be decided in a two-leg playoff between Brunei and Timor Leste in Sept) will join the group.
For the record, Thailand and Indonesia met in the final with the Thais emerging champions and claiming their fifth AFF Suzuki Cup.
In Group A, Vietnam, the 2012 winner, will battle it out with Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and the fifth team, Laos. The Laos team automatically made the main draw by virtue of being among the top nine ranked teams. 
Indonesian national team representative, Bima Sakti, who was a renowned former national player, admitted that the national team would face two difficult away matches, against the Thailand and Singapore. Their home matches are against the Philippines and the qualifier.
“We have two tough matches but I’m optimistic,” said Bima, who commented that the Under-23 team preparing for the Asian Games would form the main thrust of the AFF Suzuki Cup team. Bima is rightfully concerned as Thailand and Singapore combined have won nine of the 11 titles. 
“The team will be made up mainly of Under-23 players but with some changes.” The Indonesian Under-23 team would pose a serious threat as they have been actively preparing for the Asian Games. “We will announce the players later.”
Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe said expectations for the national team would be high. “I only recently took over and I realise there are high expectations for this team which adds to the pressure. We can’t achieve overnight success, everyone has to be patient.”
Today’s draw was conducted by AFF General Secretary, Datuk Sri Azzuddin Ahmad with assistance from AFF Deputy President, Maj Gen Khiev Sameth, AFF Vice-President Joko Driyono and Director of Pt Suzuki Indomobil Motor.  


Meanwhile, Timor Leste will host Brunei in the first leg on Sept 3 while the return leg will be on Sept 8. The winning team will advance to the main draw and take up the fifth slot in Group B.

Past Winners
1996: Thailand
1998: Singapore
2000: Thailand
2002: Thailand
2004: Singapore
2006: Singapore
2008: Vietnam
2010: Malaysia
2012: Singapore
2014: Thailand
2016: Thailand
2018: ???
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