It was a very encouraging performance by the Malaysia national team in the recently concluded 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup where Tan Cheng Hoe took the team to a runners-up finish, behind champions Vietnam.
The four wins achieved in the earlier rounds of the tournament when the matches were played in the month of November saw Malaysia moved from 169 to 167 in the FIFA rankings released last month.
However in the knockout stage of the AFF Championship where Malaysia drew three and lost one, only a point was gained and thus it meant that Malaysia will end the year of 2018 in 167 spot.
Looking at it from a broader perspective, 2018 has been a fruitful year for the national team in terms of rankings. Staring the year at 175 spot, it has been a steady climb up the charts and eight spaces gained after 12 months.
Malaysia are still ahead of Cambodia (172), Laos (184), Brunei (195) and Timor Leste (196) when comparing against fellow Southeast Asian teams. However the gap to other teams in Vietnam (100), Philippines (116), Thailand (118), Myanmar (139), Indonesia (159) and Singapore (165) is still there.
The next opportunity for Malaysia to gain points will be in March but Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have yet to decide on the potential opponents with South American giants Paraguay being mentioned as one potential opponent.
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