Yangon: Myanmar and Malaysia clash at Yangon’s Thuwunna Stadium in the Group B opener at the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 on Wednesday with both looking to improve on disappointing outings in the previous edition.

Since a fantastic run to the semi-finals back in 2016, it’s been a barren couple of campaigns for a Myanmar side that fell in the group stage at the 2018 and 2020 editions, although they do have the stability of remaining under the tutelage of respected coach Antoine Hey.

The German mentor has been at the helm for the past three years and once again he’s had to rebuild the squad due to a number of player absences and retirements with only defender David Htan having accrued more than 50 international caps.

The bulk of the squad is domestically based although Hey can call on a couple of foreign-based players including star forward Maung Maung Lwin and Myanmar will need all of his creativity to help try and end a wretched run of form over the past calendar year that’s seen them fail to win any of the seven matches that they’ve played, losing six of those.

Malaysia, too, are dealing with several concerns as a host of star players from powerhouse club side Johor Darul Ta'zim are not with the squad, making the task of coach Kim Pan-gon all the more challenging.

The Harimau Malaya are arguably even more inexperienced than the hosts with star playmaker Safawi Rasid the only player in the squad with more than 17 caps.

Veteran Brendan Gan’s return after a horrid couple of years dealing with injury and then a bout of cancer is one of the more inspirational stories at this year's AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup and the squad will be looking to feed off that positivity.

In contrast to Myanmar, the side has been in good recent form, going undefeated in their past five matches, including a strong 4-0 win over fellow AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup contenders Cambodia at the start of this month.

Historically this has been a closely fought affair with Myanmar having won six and Malaysia five of the 16 previous encounters and a victory here for either would be the ideal start to the most prestigious regional tournament in Southeast Asian football.