The event is co-hosted by Vietnam and Singapore. Group B includes Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
The Philippines beat Vietnam twice at two recent official encounters – 2-0 at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup in Hanoi and 1-0 at the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup in Thailand.
The Filipino team will continue to be the toughest rivals of hosts Vietnam at the coming competition, especially when they have called up many naturalized players.
The Philippines’ coach Thomas Dooley has four ‘imported’ men in his starting lineup, including Kenshiro Daniels, who was born in the UK and holds U.S. citizenship; Simone Rota from Italy; Daisuke Sato from Japan; and Martin Steuble from the U.S.
Steuble, who has a Swiss father and a Filipino mother, played for Lausanne Sport FC of Switzerland in 2010-11 and is now with Sporting Kansas City of the Major League Soccer in the U.S.
In the meantime, Indonesia are going to bring four ‘imported’ players to Hanoi.
They are defender Victor Igbonefo from Nigeria, midfielder Raphael Maitimo and striker Sergio van Dijk from the Netherlands, and defender Cristian Gonzalez from Uruguay.
The 1.84m tall Igbonefo, 29, is playing for Arema Cronus FC in Indonesia, while Sergio van Dijk is a forward at Thailand’s Suphanburi FC.
The remaining contenders in Group A are Laos, which are considered the underdogs.