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Shahril Ishak and V. Sundramoorthy endorse AFF Suzuki Cup changes

Shahril Ishak and V. Sundramoorthy endorse AFF Suzuki Cup changes
From ESPN - October 7, 2017

Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy and captain Shahril Ishak have endorsed the changes for next year's Suzuki Cup, with 10 nations playing home-and-away games in the group stage.

The new format was confirmed at last month's ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) council meeting in Bali.

Since its fourth edition in 2002, the biennial Southeast Asia tournament typically had two host countries for the group stages, with four teams in each group.

However, from 2018 onwards, two more nations will be added. They will still be divided into two groups, but each team will play two home and away games to determine the final four.

"It will be good for us to have home support for two games during the group stage at every edition," Sundramoorthy, who has been Lions coach since May 2016, told The New Paper ahead of Tuesday's Asian Cup qualifier in Turkmenistan.

"It will also be good for the fans to experience a major tournament on home soil once every two years.

"We have to wait and see the draw and fixtures list. Playing four games, two of them away, could mean less rest with the extra travelling, but it should be quite the same for all teams so it's up to us to manage."

Shahril, who has 134 caps, added, "This makes it a more level playing field for all teams, and there will no longer be home-ground advantage for just one team per group.

"As the competition is brought to every participating country, this should help increase the level of support and attendance.

"Hopefully, this will help attract more sponsors and add to the prestige of the competition."

It is believed that the new format is introduced to combat the poor attendances at the group matches, especially those which do not feature the hosts.

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