FIFA’s recent suspension on Indonesia might have been the worst possible news for ASEAN’s most populous nation but for her neighbours, it has given them some relieve in qualifying competitions.
Even though they might not have come out openly to say it, still several teams in the region will benefit tremendously from Indonesia’s inability to play competitive international competitions.
For one, the AFC Futsal Championship in 2016 has already given the advantage to Malaysia.
ASEAN have been given a total of four slots for the AFC Futsal Championship that will be held in Uzbekistan in 2016.
Each zone was supposed to have only the top two teams making the cut for the AFC Futsal Championship next year.
But with powerhouse Thailand and Australia having gained automatic places into the AFC meet by virtue of finishing fifth and sixth in 2014, it has allowed ASEAN to have two more slots for contention.
The AFF Futsal Championship that will be hosted by Thailand on 8-18 October is being used as the qualifying venue for the AFC meet.
Initially, there were supposed to be 11 teams taking part but following the suspension on Indonesia, it meant that there will now be only 10 participating teams.
Indonesia was initially drawn in Group A against Thailand, Timor Leste, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.
With Indonesia’s absence, Malaysia will have an easier passage to the next round provided they can beat the other teams and make the semi-finals.
AFF FUTSAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
GROUP A: Thailand, Timor Leste, Brunei DS, Malaysia, Singapore
GROUP B: Australia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines
In the meantime, Indonesia’s suspension in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers have also gave certain advantage to both Thailand and Vietnam.
Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia were previously drawn in Group F against Iraq and Chinese Taipei. Now there are only four teams in the group following the removal of Indonesia.
“Not that it will make things easy but at least there will be one less team to play against. Certainly, it makes for less travelling. So for that, we have to say, Thank you, Indonesia!” quipped an official.