For the 6th consecutive year, Suzuki Motor Corporation is the official sponsor of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship, to make way for the region's biggest football tournament in 2018.
Since 2008, the Japanese company has sponsored AFF’s flagship competition —the AFF Suzuki Cup. The annual event originated in 1996 and is contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia.
“The AFF SUZUKI CUP has created sensational moments and unforgettable memories, which embody Suzuki’s company slogan “way of life!” The 2018 championship will mark the 10th year anniversary of our sponsorship, and with new changes to the tournament format, it will surely be as superb and exciting as ever, and will mark a new chapter in the history of the AFF SUZUKI CUP.”
It’s important to take note that this year’s AFF Suzuki Cup comes with format changes, which aim to expose the players more to their local audience and engage more fan engagement.
Starting this year, the Qualification round will see the two lowest-ranked ASEAN groups kick off in opposition to every other, with the winner joining the top nine ranked nations on the leaderboard.
Each group will have five teams, with each team playing two games at home and two outside. During the Semi-Finals and Finals, the cup will follow home-and-away format in two legs, which means there will be more ‘home’ matches in every participating country.
Thailand is in a five-year winning streak, with a recent championship in 2016 when Myanmar and the Philippines hosted the group stages for the first time. Will the Philippines be able to break that streak and take home the title this year?