AFF Suzuki Cup postponed

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam national football team and their regional rivals will face an extended wait for an appearance in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup after the Asean Football Federation announced the postponement of the tournament to December 2021.

AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “As always, our first priority is the health and safety of everyone connected with the event. As such, we have been monitoring COVID-19 developments, both within ASEAN and in the wider world, on a continuous basis.”

He said, “While there have been encouraging results in vaccine development, we are cognisant that the process of vaccine approval, as well as the practicalities of the distribution and implementation of vaccine programmes across the world including ASEAN will take some time.

“Given the complexities around the organisation of the event, and the many people and organisations that are impacted by it, the AFF believes in taking a pragmatic approach and making a considered decision early that will allow the stakeholders in the event to have enough notice to reorganise their activities.”

He said that the congestion of international and domestic events for 2021 makes the hosting of the tournament in December an ideal time.

The president said that the new dates of the meet, which is slated from December 5 to January 1, 2022, will provide the best opportunity for the event to be staged in its full format with home and away fixtures in both the group and knockouts stages.

Originally rescheduled to take place in April-May next year, the AFF Suzuki Cup is a prestigious football tournament which unites national ‘A’ teams in the region to vie for the championship title.

The AFF said they will continue to work closely with various member associations, including Brunei Darussalam, and partners to provide further updates on the 2021 tournament once they are available.