The highly anticipated AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup is now just four weeks away from kicking off as the 14th edition of Southeast Asia's festival of football promises fireworks on the pitch and incredible atmospheres off it. 

As the clock ticks quickly down towards the opening round of fixtures, we've looked back through the years to highlight some facts you need to know ahead of the 2022 edition.  

1) Four nations have tasted regional glory

Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia have all lifted the trophy down the years, making the AFF Championship one of the more diverse international tournaments.

Between them, Thailand and Singapore have lifted the trophy ten times, with Vietnam two-time champions and Malaysia victorious once. Indonesia, meanwhile, have reached the final on six occasions, but finished as runners-up each time.


2) Thailand will be aiming for a record-extending seventh title

Thailand are the tournament’s defending champions and have lifted the trophy on no fewer than half a dozen occasions, winning the inuagural edition in 1996 before going back-to-back in 2000 and 2002.

After 12 trophyless years, so dominant have they been in recent times that they’ve won three of the past four editions having been crowned regional champions in 2014, 2016 and 2020. 


3) Brunei Darussalam back on the regional stage

For just the second time Brunei will compete in the finals of the AFF Championships after storming to a 6-3 aggregate victory over Timor-Leste in the qualification playoffs.

Their only previous appearance came way back in the inaugural edition in 1996 where they won one of their four group stage matches, edging the Philippines 1-0 after an Irwan Mohammad goal.


4) Chanathip Songkrasin is the undisputed king of Southeast Asia

The Thai maestro has been a dominant figure on the regional stage for many years and has rightly earned the tag of the tournament’s greatest-ever player.

If there was any doubt about that claim, the fact that the attacking midfielder has won three tournament MVP prizes is testament to just how dominant he’s been over the past decade, having picked up the accolade in 2014, 2016 and 2020. 

5) Cambodia's shining jewel

For the first time, one of the newest stadiums in Southeast Asia will play host to matches in the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup as Cambodia get set to kick off their campaign against the Philippines in Phnom Penh.

The new National Stadium was opened barely a year ago and designed to resemble a sailing ship and is a superb, state-of-the-art, facility in the Cambodian capital, where up to 60,000 fans are expected to cheer on their side. 


6) Teerasil Dangda can extend the all-time goals record

Having been joint top scorer in the previous edition, Thailand’s ace marksman Teerasil Dangda has now won the Golden Boot on a record four occasions, most recently when he finished as joint-top scorer with four goals at the 2020 edition.

He also went past Noh Alam Shah to be the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 19 goals to his name and that’s a mark he could easily extend should he make Thailand’s final squad for the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.


7) Home & Away action returns

For only the second time, the AFF Championship group stage will be played on a home-and-away basis after the format was introduced in the 2018 campaign before the 2020 edition was centralised due to COVID-19.

This will allow more fans to witness their teams in action and again bring the full range of noise, colour and passion to the regional stage.


8) ‘Zico’ has done it all

Kiatisuk Senamuang is the only man to have won the AFF Championships as both a player and a coach, and indeed it was he who scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win over Malaysia in the inaugural final in 1996.

On the pitch, he was part of Thailand’s successes in the aforementioned 1996 edition, 2000 and 2002 whilst twice he led his nation to glory from the touchline (in 2014 & 2016).


9) Jakarta was where things all began

The ASEAN Football Federation was founded way back in 1984 (12 years before the first AFF Championships) at a meeting of half a dozen nations (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand) in the Indonesian capital.

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar & Vietnam joined in 1996 with Timor-Leste following in 2004 and Australia becoming the latest of the dozen member nations in 2013, but they are the only member nation yet to have featured in the AFF Championships.


10) 684,727,487…and counting!

That’s the estimated population of Southeast Asia according to United Nations data on the eve of the competition.

It also means that Southeast Asia comprises almost ten percent of the global population and given the passion that football fans from the region will bring to the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup, the event could be one of the most vibrant tournament on the football calendar.