November 1: The AFF Suzuki Cup Trophy Tour arrives in Hanoi tomorrow, November 2, with just a week to go before the region’s premier football tournament kicks off.

The trophy will be on display at AEON Mall Long Bien, in Hanoi, from 5pm to 8pm and Vietnam’s leading players will be in attendance for fans to take photos with and sign autographs.

There will also be performances by a football freestyle team and an acoustic band as well as activations by tournament sponsors Grand Sport, Pinaco and Acebook.

The first matches of the AFF Suzuki Cup kick-off on November 8 but in the lead-up to the tournament the trophy has been touring the region.

The trophy has already made stops in Cambodia, Myanmar, Manila and Bangkok and heads to Jakarta on Sunday.

Vietnam, winners of the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008, are riding the crest of a wave after fine performances at both senior and under-23 level over the past year and will be among the favourites in this year’s tournament.

The national team qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 with an unbeaten record in Group C and their younger counterparts sparked outpourings of joy in the country by reaching the final of the AFC U23 Championship in China at the start of 2018.

Both national sides are coached by Korea Republic’s Park Hang-seo, who was assistant to Dutchman Guus Hiddink at the FIFA World Cup in 2002, when the Koreans reached the semi-finals.

Vietnam’s good spell came on the heels of another heartbreaking semi-final defeat in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016.

Similar to 2014, when Vietnam looked the real deal before a surprising collapse at home to Malaysia in the second leg of the semi-final, they had seemed on track to challenge for a second AFF Suzuki Cup title.

After winning Group B, they grabbed an away goal in the 2-1 defeat to Indonesia in the first leg of the semi-final before matters went sour again in Hanoi with 10-man Vietnam losing 4-3 on aggregate after extra-time of an extraordinary encounter.

Their Group A opponents this time around will be Malaysia and Cambodia, who they play at home, and Laos and Myanmar, in away fixtures.