KUALA LUMPUR: The national Under-23 (U-23) squad have been drawn together with Indonesia, the gold medal winners of the 2023 SEA Games, in their mission to hunt for their maiden title of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-23 Championship that will take place in Chonburi, Thailand this August.

At the draw ceremony today, the Harimau Muda coached by E. Elavarasan (pix), Indonesia, who were also the champions of the 2019 edition, and Timor-Leste were drawn in Group B.

Group A consists of hosts Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei and Myanmar while Group C is made up of defending champions Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos.

The champion of each group along with the best runner-up qualify for the semi-finals.

Malaysia’s best finish in the tournament’s history was fourth place in the inaugural edition in 2005.

The AFF U-23 Championship this time is the preparatory platform for Elavarasan’s boys after the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia recently, ahead of the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers which will also be held in Thailand in September in a mission to hunt for a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

At the 2023 SEA Games, the national U-23 squad who emerged as champions of the Merlion Cup in March, performed poorly in Cambodia and were eliminated early, in the group stage, thus failing to reach the target of qualifying for the final. -Bernama