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2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Roundtable Discussion - Fans Speak

2012 AFF Suzuki Cup Roundtable Discussion - Fans Speak

Heath

The fans from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore share their views on their respective national football teams

HEDI NOVIANTO l INDONESIA FAN

How do you feel about the draw?

 
I think it's a fair draw. Before the draw, I already had a feeling that we would be in one group with Malaysia and Singapore. Group B of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup has been already been labelled the Group of Death, even with the fourth team still undetermined.

What do you think about your team's chances?
 
Chances depend on many things. If Indonesia play like their U-23 squad in the past AFC 2013 qualifiers, then we may have a good chance. During the past decade I have noticed more comprehensive performances from the Indonesian national team, with an improvement in understanding of the game, tactics, determination, professionalism, stamina and communication. Of course the level of play hasn't always been satisfactory, but at least they could show how to play football with the right philosophy and strength.
 
But at this year's AFF Cup, the senior team will play. As far as I know, coach Nil Maizar has good ability. So all is dependent on whether the players selected by Nil have the quality to play at the level shown by the junior squad coached by Aji Santoso and Widodo C Putro. That will decide how far Indonesia can progress.
 
How do you feel about your team's current condition? Looking at the current fixtures and team's condition, how prepared do you think they'll be by November?
 
The national team's condition is a major concern. Indonesia cannot gather all their best players because of an absurd feud between Indonesia's football elites.
 
Without the intention of taking sides, I would highlight the attitude of the Indonesia Super League (ISL) who are unwilling to release their players to the national team. The Indonesian FA must work with the ISL clubs and overcome the urgent issue of releasing ISL players for the national team. Players reserve the right to join the national side if they are called up for duty.
 
I think that Indonesia have the best players in Southeast Asia. Both Ivan Kolev and Peter Withe have said that. But the best players have to be collected and gathered, and combined to make up the best team. Unfortunately the boycott that's happening makes that effort more difficult.
 
Will you go to support them in away games?

I hope to attend in Malaysia. So far the flight tickets are safe with me. Afterwards I will need to secure the match tickets.

ASYRAF FAUZI l MALAYSIA FAN

How do you feel about the draw? 

Malaysia being in the so-called group of death will definitely pile more pressure on the team. Coming into this tournament as the defending champions and grouped with other powerhouses of South East Asia, this upcoming edition of AFF Suzuki Cup will test Malaysia's strength at the very first hurdle. This means top, top concentration is required from the players as mistakes in early games will cost them the title. As a pure football fan, this draw is a challenge that one dreams of, as it will promise a competitive group. 

As far as my national team is concerned, I am quite confident to say that the Malaysian team has the necessary ingredients to make it past the group stage. This is supported by the fact that Malaysia will be co-hosts which strengthens my confidence in the team.

A piece of advice for the Malaysian players; do not underestimate the Indonesians and Singaporeans.  The Indonesians will be very eager to punish us on our own soil after defeats to our team in two consecutive finals. As for the match against Singapore, our players will not find it hard to motivate themselves to avenge their loss in the World Cup Playoff which took place last year.

The Malaysian team should take each game as it comes and show the opponents how the Tigers roar!

What do you think about your team's chances? 

I think the Malaysian squad is good enough to win any title that is up for grabs in the  South East Asian region. The experience gained in past tournaments will help us to defend the title this time. 

Surely, pressure is mounting this time because they are now one of the heavy favourites to land the prestigious cup. For Malaysian fans, this is the time for us to find out about our national team’s capability in living up to the hype and expectations bestowed upon their shoulders. Don’t forget that the squad will consist of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 and the Sea Games Gold Medalist winners.

How do you feel about your team's current condition? Looking at the current fixtures and team's condition, how prepared do you think they'll be by November? 

Like other football squads in the world, our national team can't escape from being plagued by injuries. With the tournament starting in November, I would say that most of our players will be in good shape provided that they would have played with their respective clubs in the Malaysia Cup. Given a couple of months to prepare for the tournament, Datuk K. Rajagopal still has time to improve the team on many aspects. 

Meanwhile, recent friendlies against the big guns of EPL showed that we can compete at the highest level. We also have adequate replacements and talented young players coming through.

Will you go to support them in away games? 

This is easy. YES! As our football squad is looking to improve with time, I bet Malaysians will try their best to come and support our national team in every game! 


ARIEF ADITYA l SINGAPORE FAN

How do you feel about the draw?
 

The draw for Singapore has been a rather interesting one because we will be facing two of our closest neighbours. We have a strong rivalry against the Malaysians while matches against Indonesia have always been intense, especially with the fanatical support that the indonesians are known for.On a personal note however, I would have preferred to face Vietnam to exact revenge for our two consecutive exits that were handed by them!

For our matches to be played in Malaysia, that would mean that we will have a tough first game against the current champions on their home ground in a game that they will surely be favourites. But given that it is just across the causeway, i do hope that more singaporeans can turn up in numbers to support the national team away from home this time around. 

What do you think about your team's chances? 

Honestly, the gap between all the nations in Southeast Asia has been closing up. So to predict our team's chances is really really difficult. But then again, looking at the group, I think that our chances will be very much determined on our game against Indonesia. Win that game against the Garudas and i think that the Lions will be on course to reach their target of reaching the final.


How do you feel about your team's current condition? Looking at the current fixtures and team's condition, how prepared do you think they'll be by November? 

If I have to base on recent results, the Lions are actually not in a really good shape and form, heading into the tournament. But on a positive note, we still have a couple of months left. At the end of the day, it is the run up to the tournament that will determine our chances of doing well. That would mean the form of the players selected for the national team as well as our luck in getting our players fit and injury free. 

We will be having a couple of friendlies against Hong Kong and Philippines before the run up to the tournament. No disrespect to those teams, but I think that the Lions need tougher opposition than that to be better prepared because it is only when we face strong opponents that our team will be able to improve. Of course, I have the utmost confidence that Raddy and his deputies will be able to prepare the Lions both physically and mentally by November and bring back the Suzuki Cup to our land.

Will you go to support them in away games? 

For sure myself as well as the LATW Crew will support them in the away games. I am also confident that other Singaporeans will take their time off to support the National Team as well. On a personal note, i have yet to erase the memories of the Suzuki Cup exit 2 years ago in which i was there at the My Dinh stadium in Hanoi, painfully swallowing our elimination. This time around, i hope to be able to leave my voice again in an away stadium in support of the Lions.

Arief Aditya is the founder of Lions all the Way (LATW), Singapore's first football fan group.

PINIT NGAMPRING l THAILAND FAN

How do you feel about the draw? 

For the draw, I think it's two equal groups in term of difficulty. And it will be three tough games for Thailand. Vietnam may look like they are a level above the rest, but the Philippines are also a strong side that Thailand didn't play against for a long while, plus they're filled with tall and strong foreign-turned-pinoy players. Another team from qualifying will be Laos or Myanmar, which we surely can't underestimate. All in all, the first match will be very crucial for Thailand.

What do you think about your team's chances? 

Chances are very even in this competition. Thailand have a small advantage as a co-host but there's no real favorite this time round. The most prepared side, who study other teams in great detail, will be crowned victorious.

How do you feel about your team's current condition? Looking at the current fixtures and team's condition, how prepared do you think they'll be by November? 

Thai players have great potential but will be exhausted by their gruelling schedule. The team has all the ingredients for success, so it's up to 'the chef' to make something impressive.

I don't believe the Thailand international team will be quite ready come November.  We have no unity in our style of play, and only a short time to blend the team together, therefore I expect big problems in our teamwork.

Will you go to support them in away games? 

If we can make it to the semis, then there is no reason not to travel to the stadium. I'll try as hard as possible to be there. All asean countries are surely worth a visit, but I like Malaysia the most.

Pinit Ngampring is the President of CHEER THAI POWER, a big fan group in Thailand.

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