| BANGKOK (Oct 17, 2007) – There will be no easy passage to the semi-finals of the men’s football competition at the SEA Games this year following the official draw ceremony which was held at the Raddisson Hotel in Bangkok this evening.
Defending champions Thailand have been placed in a tricky Group A of the meet alongside Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Group B on the other hand are by no means any easier with runners-up Vietnam up against Singapore, Malaysia and Laos.
For Thailand and as hosts, they will be anxious to defend the title they won two years ago and where they have been hard in training under head coach Thongsuk Sampahangsit.
Around 30 players have reported for the last phase of training since last week.
Thongsuk said that while he will be concentrating on the finer aspects of his team’s preparation, he will also be on a mission to Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia to observe their preparations.
While Cambodia are on an accelerated development programme following their recent hosting of the AFF Under-17 Championship, both Indonesia and Myanmar are likely to use their teams from the recent Merdeka Tournament to forward their challenge.
There will be no dissension as far as gauging the side from Myanmar is concerned – where afterall, they did make the final of the Merdeka Tournament.
Indonesia on the other hand are currently in Argentina under the tutelage of head coach Ivan Kolev on part training and part test match tour.
With the squad of players under their Young Lions programme – currently in the top half of the S-League – well under way, Singapore will be out to make sure that they will be among the top two teams from Group B to make the semi-finals this year.
But Malaysia under new head coach B. Sathianathan seems to be growing from strength to strength following their recent capture of the Merdeka Tournament crown.
There can be no under-estimation of Laos in this tournament while for Vietnam – the runners-up in the Philippines two years ago – they will be anxious to show that they have learned some valuable lessons in these two years.
GROUP A: Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar
GROUP B: Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam