VIENTIANE (23 May 2012) – Former Japan international Kazushi Kimura has been appointed as the new national coach of Laos as they look to maintain their stranglehold of consistently winning one of the only two available places in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers.

Laos have been regularly making the main draw of the AFF Suzuki Cup in the past three editions. And this year, following the vast improvements that Philippines have made in the last two years, there will be a change in the line-up for the qualifying campaign that will be played in Yangon, Myanmar in October.

The Philippines who made the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup two years ago, have earned an automatic place in the main draw this time round. In turn, Myanmar have dropped down to the qualifiers where they will do battle against Laos, Cambodia, Brunei and Timor Leste.

But it is not only the Philippines who have made improvements where Brunei have also shown that their two-year ban by FIFA has not affected their game. Their young squad won the Hassana Bolkiah Trophy after beating Indonesia in the final after a strong impression at the SEA Games last year.

On the other hand, Timor Leste are likely to use their foreign based players, who play in Brazil, Portugal, Australia and elsewhere, to fortify the team as they had done at the SEA Games as well.

Against such a scenario, it is no surprise that the Laos Football Federation (LFF) have asked the assistance from the Japan Football Association (JFA) for the technical assistance.

Kimura will be in Laos until 2014.

PIX (courtesy of Kazushi Kimura