Daunting task awaits Harimau Malaya in AFC Asian Cup Finals

KUALA LUMPUR – The national football team have been handed a tough task after being drawn with South Korea, Jordan and Bahrain in Group E of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Finals to be held in Doha, Qatar from Jan 12 to Feb 10, 2024.

The draw was held in Doha last night and streamed live on YouTube.

National head coach Kim Pan Gon’s Harimau Malaya, who are ranked 138 in the world, could not have asked for a more daunting mission than having to meet world number 27 and two-time Asian Cup champions South Korea, Jordan (world number 84) and Bahrain (world number 85).

But Pan Gon is not deterred, saying the Harimau Malaya will give it their best shot.

“The Republic of Korea is one of the best teams, we will try our best to compete with them and make Malaysians proud of the team,” he said in a video clip shared with the media tonight.

For the record, this is the first time Malaysia have qualified for the Asian Cup Finals on merit after 42 years.

The Harimau Malaya last qualified on merit for the Asian Cup Finals in 1980 although they did play in the 2007 edition as one of the four host nations.

Following is the 2023 AFC Asian Cup draw:

  • Group A: Qatar, China, Tajikistan, Lebanon
  • Group B: Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, India
  • Group C: Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hong Kong, Palestine
  • Group D: Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Group E: South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan, Bahrain
  • Group F: Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman – Bernama / pix credit: Football Association of Malaysia FB