The Rhino, the bus, the hammer, golf, champ, the zombie and the hot boy…welcome to the wonderful, wild and often weird world of some of the AFF Suzuki Cup players and the nicknames that that they’re known by.

Having dug deep into a list of coaches, fellow players and media who gave some insight into the stories behind these nicknames here’s a look at some of the more fascinating ones.

Neil Etheridge – The Bus

There are plenty of amusing nicknames from the Azkals with local fans dubbing their star keeper the bus due to his ability to stop shots from all angles but there are also several others worth a mention.

Martin’s Steuble’s powerful shot has earned him the nickname ‘hammer’ whilst Misagh Bahadoran is apparently referred to as ‘Borat’ due to what some see as a resemblance to the film character of the same name.

Do Duy Manh – Hot Boy

Vietnam too has plenty of amusing nicknames with the so-called pinup boy of the squad, Do Duy Manh, earning the moniker ‘hot boy’ due to those good looks.

His teammate Phan Van Duc, is known as ‘raw bones’ because when he was younger he was very thin and unable to bulk up his frame whilst forward Nguyen Anh Duc is referred to as ‘Eto’o’ because of a perceived similarity to the Cameroon star.

Shahrul Saad – The Rhino

Part of a football family where both of his older brothers also play the game, the youngest brother seems to have taken on the same nickname given to one of his siblings, Syamsul, who is currently a coach in his native Malaysia.

‘Babak’ – meaning Rhino – was coined as the ideal nickname for both brothers given their physical toughness but there are plenty of others with the Malaysian squad with amusing nicknames including defender Syazwan Andik who is known as Pelo in reference to famed Italian star, Andrea Pirlo.

Soukaphone Vongchiengkham – Messi Lao

There are many in the media who have dubbed certain players the ‘Ronaldo’ or ‘Messi’ of their nation and that’s no different in Laos where their star creative midfielder, Soukaphone, is widely referred to as Messi Lao with the name being earned not just because of his talents on the pitch but also a relentless nature that’s combined with his short stature, as is the case with the Argentine star.

Siwarak Tedsungnoen – The Champ

Likely to be Thailand’s first choice given the absence of Kawin Thamsatchanan, Buriram keeper Siwarak has certainly earned his nickname given he’s won five league titles and 13 cups over the past seven years with his club.

His teammate, Adisak Kraisorn, is known as ‘golf’ so he’ll have to focus on a slightly larger ball at the AFF Suzuki Cup whilst forward Chananan Pombuppha will hope his goalscoring feats each game can match his nickname of ‘two.’

Joao Panji – The Zombie

The 18-year-old Timorese defender will be hoping to force his way into the national team for the first time at the AFF Suzuki Cup but he’ll have to shake off the nickname – the zombie – that was given to him by fellow players and coaches although if he can strike fear into opposing forwards the name might just have done the job.

Evan Dimas – Anak Ajaib (The Wonderkid)

This one seems to have been coined by Malaysian media due to the midfielder’s superb displays with club side Selangor and it’s certainly appropriate as is that of his teammate, Andik Vermansyah who is the latest of the Messi-inspired players and is often referred to as the ‘Indonesian Messi.’

Chan Vathanaka – CV11

Not a reference to some kind of job application but rather a nod to a certain Portuguese forward who’s picked up a similar nickname where his initials are simply matched with his regular squad number and the Cambodian hotshot will be hoping to have a similar impact on his nation as Ronaldo has for his over the past decade or so.