AFF Suzuki Cup set to begin on April 11 next year

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam national football team have a regional competition as their immediate target next year after the new dates for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup were announced yesterday.

The Asean Football Federation (AFF) said the latest decision has been taken with an aim to host the championship in its full format – played on a home and away basis across the qualifying nations in Southeast Asia.

The biennial tournament was originally scheduled from November 23 to December 31 but the organisers have decided to postpone the event due to the pandemic and will now hold it from April 11 to May 8 next year.

The AFF Task Force has determined that the allocated dates work best to accommodate the domestic football schedules following consultation with the region’s football federations and other relevant authorities.

The AFF added that they will continue to monitor closely the situation closely to ensure the safety and well-being of all players, coaches, fans and the public.

AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “We are delighted with the positive support that we have had from our member associations and that we have been able to find a suitable window next year to hold our most highly anticipated tournament.

“While we are aware that the fight against the global pandemic is not over, we are cautiously optimistic for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 to take place in its full format as we hope to deliver the best of Asean in the tournament next year.

“AFF and our Member Associations would like to express gratitude to all our fans, players, coaches, officials, media and other partners for their unwavering support and commitment despite the challenging times, and look forward to the AFF Suzuki Cup unifying the whole of Southeast Asia when we are able to come together again.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Southeast Asia at SPORT FIVE Malcolm Thorpe said, “We are glad to work out the new tournament dates for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 with the relevant stakeholders, and we are excited to continue to work with our partners on their sponsorships, campaigns and activation plans as we get ready to bring football back to the fans of Asean.”

Earlier this month, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) stepped up plans of assembling a national team after inviting potential players to attend a call-up at the NFABD Football Field during the FIFA calendar window.

The country’s governing body of football is expected to organise similar sessions from October 5 to 13 which will coincide with the FIFA calendar window.