With ten nations fighting to be crowned champions of the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup, competition to lift the trophy is as fierce as it’s ever been.

In the 26-year history of Southeast Asia’s showpiece event only four nations have tasted regional glory and that quartet – Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia – will be hoping to add some more silverware when things get underway next month.

For the remaining six nations, they enter with dreams of a breakthrough victory but know the challenges that await.

There can be only one winner and that will take a combination of experience, quality, growth and perhaps even some luck; here we look at the reasons why each nation can win the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup and why they may struggle.



WHY THEY CAN WIN: Having swept aside Timor-Leste in qualification, Brunei will enter the group stage riding a wave of confidence. With a win under their belt against one of their group opponents, Philippines, in their only prior tournament outing, they nothing to lose on their return to the regional stage.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: This is just Brunei’s second AFF Championship appearance and comes more than two decades after their last outing so there’s a clear lack of experience in the squad at that level and that may count against them.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: With a young and vibrant squad that has been patiently nurtured by one of Asian football’s all-time greats in Japanese star Keisuke Honda, Cambodia have been a nation on the rise for several years – no other team at the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup can lay claim to a coach with such a glittering record as a player and that could be the key to their success.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: In eight prior attempts, the nation has failed to progress past the group stage and are yet to score more than they’ve conceded in a tournament and those defensive concerns are an issue that will need to be addressed.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: Indonesia feel like a nation that’s primed for success after a youthful side went all the way to the final of the previous edition playing a swashbuckling brand of football; the squad is full of quality and they know what it takes to win on the regional stage.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: Manager Shin Tae-yong appears likely to again go with a squad heavy on youth and if things are tight in decisive matches, in front of an expectant home crowd, there will be questions as to how the team will hold up under that pressure.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: After the previous edition was forced into a centralised venue due to the pandemic, Laos will relish being back at home and with two of their more difficult group assignments – against Vietnam and Singapore – set to be played in front of a loud and passionate crowd in Vientiane they could ride that support into the knockout stages.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: Laos have failed to progress past the group stage in any of their previous regional outings and there are questions as to whether they have the experience in the squad to turn in the kind of consistent performances needed to go deep into the latter stages.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: Malaysia are blessed with a wealth of attacking talent that’s the envy of many other nations in the tournament and if those stars click then goals seem assured and if that momentum builds then Malaysia will be a genuine title contender.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: There have been questions over the availability of some key players for manager Kim Pan-gon who has never previously led a national team in Southeast Asia and he’ll need all his stars present to help him navigate his way through the regional waters.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: Setting aside the previous edition that was impacted by the pandemic, Myanmar have been very much a nation on the rise, having won two of the four matches they played in both the 2016 and 2018 tournaments, including reaching the semi-finals six years ago. Combine that with a technically sound squad and an experienced coach and Myanmar will be confident of success in the regional showpiece.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: The reported absence and sudden retirement of the vastly experienced defender Zaw Min Tun is a blow to the nation and unless he can be coaxed back into the fold, the Thailand-based centre-back’s absence leaves a huge hole for coach Antoine Hey to fill.



WHY THEY CAN WIN: With four semi-final appearances over the past half a dozen tournaments, the Philippines are very much a nation on the ascendancy. With a host of players competing in strong foreign leagues they’re also able to call on some real quality right across the pitch and that individual class could give them a clear edge.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: Less than a month out from the opening matches there’s still no coach yet appointed to guide the Azkals at Southeast Asia’s leading tournament and that’s naturally a huge issue and when a manager does arrive it also gives them little time to prepare.



WHY THEY CAN WIN: After close to a decade in the wilderness, where they failed to progress past the group stage, the Lions came roaring back in the previous tournament as they marched all the way to the semi-finals and that should fill them with confidence. They’ve also managed to arrange a two-week training camp in Japan that will help finetune their preparations.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: As always there’s plenty of pressure on this group to live up to the exploits of early Lions squads where they were, for a spell, the clear kings of Southeast Asia – how much that pressure will continue to burden the current squad is the key question.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: The reigning champions are blessed with a squad that’s deep and stacked with quality, they have a coach who knows what it takes to win and they play with belief, confidence and control; all of that means that Thailand are very much once again contenders to lift the trophy early next year.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: Naturally, every nation in the group will lift their game against the defending champions and regional superpower and that will mean that Thailand will constantly need to be aware of any slip-ups. And last time the went into the tournament as holders, they were beaten in the semi-finals by Malaysia.


WHY THEY CAN WIN: With a playing group and a coach that’s been together for many years, this is a finely tuned Vietnamese side that’s blessed with outstanding technical players that have the ability to turn any match and if reports are true that France based star Nguyen Quang Hai will return then that’s an added edge for the two-time champions.

WHY THEY CAN’T WIN: Injuries have and continue to hit Vietnam hard and it appears likely that a host of stars, led by Nguyen Cong Phuong, Tran Dinh Trong and Luong Xuan Truong, may be unable to appear for their nation and that will sorely test their depth.