After a pandemic-related delay to the start of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 things are finally ready to get underway with all eyes on the host nation as they prepare for the visit of a Myanmar side dealing with numerous issues that have hampered their preparation.

Having been awarded the hosting rights earlier this year, the pressure immediately ramped up on a Singapore side that haven’t lifted the trophy since 2012.

With Japanese coach Tatsuma Yoshida now at the helm and a largely new-look squad bolstered by the inclusion of the newly naturalised Song Ui-young, the manager knows how important it is to make a winning start.

“Honestly we are happy to have the support of the fans behind us after such a long time where we couldn’t host big sporting events in Singapore so there is no major pressure for the team.

“We know we are facing good opposition but we’re going to approach things with a strong fighting spirit and target all three points.”

Although all nations have been forced to overcome obstacles due to the pandemic perhaps not many have had as tough a preparation as Myanmar have.

The domestic league has been out of action for more than a year, injuries and retirements have hit hard and on top of that COVID-related issues may have Myanmar struggling to field a competitive XI, according to manager Antoine Hey.

“It’s been one and a half years since the local players have been able to play and with other players now having retired it’s forced us to make a new beginning with newer and younger players.

“We had a good training camp recently in Europe but now four of the players from our 27-man squad are injured and ten others have had to be re-tested for COVID and can’t train.

“That leaves us with just 14 players available right now, four of whom are goalkeepers, so we’re trying to see who will be available and then we just have to do the best we can.

“It means that the burden is clearly on Singapore and it’s obvious that they are the favourites for this match, especially given that they are playing at home in front of their own supporters.”