The group-stage draw for the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup takes place on May 2. We know the identities of nine of the 10 teams, with the winner of Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste joining after September’s play-off, and it's time to turn our attentions to the permutations on offer.

Here we look at what could unfold at the prestigious tournament draw event in Jakarta and which teams could be pitted against one another in potential groups of death, groups of champions, familiar foes and more.


As it stands, here is the current seeding with one nation from each pot to be drawn to make two groups of five teams, which will play a round robin system with each team playing two home and two away fixtures:

Pot 1: Thailand, Vietnam

Pot 2: Indonesia, Malaysia

Pot 3: Philippines, Myanmar

Pot 4: Singapore, Cambodia

Pot 5: Laos, Brunei Darussalam or Timor Leste


The Group of Death?

Vietnam (#1), Indonesia (#5), Philippines (#2), Cambodia (#6), Laos (#9)

A contentious one but, according to the latest FIFA Ranking (the numbers in brackets represent their standing amongst ASEAN), these five comprise the strongest possible outcome from the draw and therefore present the toughest group on paper.

Defending champions Thailand surprisingly miss out due to their lower FIFA Ranking, third amongst ASEAN sides.


Winners are Grinners Group

Thailand (40 wins), Indonesia (29 wins), Myanmar (12 wins), Singapore (26 wins), Laos (2 wins)

Rankings are all very well, but when it comes to the history of the tournament, these five teams represent the most successful group draw in terms of matches won at the regional championship.

They are also the combination of teams with the most goals scored, with a cumulative 470 AFF Suzuki Cup strikes to their name.


Group of Champions

Thailand (5 titles), Malaysia (1 title), Philippines (3 semi-finals), Singapore (4 titles), Laos (10 group stage appearances)

Results are one thing, but winning when it counts is key and in this potential group are the bulk of the AFF Suzuki Cup’s champions. Only Vietnam (1 title) miss out as Thailand, in terms of silverware, is the superior team from Pot 1.

Neither the Philippines nor Laos are yet to lift an ASEAN championship, but are both superior in placings compared to their counterparts (Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam/Timor Leste) in their respective pots.


Group of Familiar Foes

Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar or Philippines, Singapore or Cambodia, N/A

While Thailand’s stars have recently chosen to move to Europe or Japan, and Malaysia’s squad are all based on home soil, there is plenty of player movement to these countries from the other Southeast Asian nations.

One of Myanmar’s leading strikers, Aung Thu, plies his trade at Police Tero FC in Bangkok, while two of the Philippines’ best, Iain Ramsay (FELDA United) and Misagh Bahadoran (Perak TBG), turn out for Malaysia Super League sides.

Singapore’s players would be even more well acquainted should they be drawn with the above-mentioned sides. Four of their squad who appeared against Maldives at the end of March play for Thai clubs, while five others are at Malaysian teams.

Cambodia, too, number players Chan Vathanaka, Keo Sokphang and Theirry Chantha Bin among those in Malaysia.

The footballers for Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor Leste all currently play in their domestic leagues.


Also, watch out for these rivalries to be potentially renewed:

Thailand vs Indonesia: An early re-match of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup Final

Vietnam vs Philippines: A chance for the Azkals to re-live their “Miracle in Hanoi” in 2010.

Singapore vs Malaysia: Neither Thailand vs Vietnam nor Indonesia vs Malaysia, two of the region’s biggest rivalries, can take place in the group stages. So, instead look out for the next possible edition of the fierce Singapore-Malaysia Causeway Derby.

Cambodia vs Laos: A local clash and a chance for Laos to redeem themselves, after Cambodia beat them to qualification for the 2016 edition.