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AFF Suzuki Cup: Fans' Best XI

With the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup less than six months away we have given you, the fans, a chance to select the best players in each position since the tournament began 22 years ago.

After almost 200,000 votes were cast we can, without further ado, reveal the all-star Suzuki Cup Best XI – and what a team it is!

Coach
Full voting results here
Kiatisuk Senamuang, Thailand

Having won the Suzuki Cup three times as a player, no one boasted a better medal haul than Thailand’s Kiatisuk Sanemuang by the time he turned his hand to management.

“Zico” then enhanced his legendary status further by guiding the War Elephants to back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2016 before stepping down a year later.

Goalkeeper
Full voting results here
Kurnia Meiga, Indonesia

Garuda Number 1 Kurnia Meiga beat off stiff competition from two-time champion Kawin Thamsatchanan of Thailand to be named the competition’s top stopper.

Twice a runner-up – in 2010 and 2016 – Kurnia denied Teerasil Dangda from the spot in the 2016 final but Indonesia lost 3-2 to the Thais on aggregate.

Defenders
Full voting results here
Aide Iskandar, Singapore

Few can be more deserving of a place in the Best XI than three-time Suzuki Cup winner Aide Iskandar, who won the tournament in 1998 before captaining Singapore to glory in 2004 and 2007.

The elegant, ball-playing centre-back earned more than 120 caps for the Lions and was also part of the coaching staff in the victorious 2012 edition.

Fadhli Shas, Malaysia

Thrust into the starting line-up after injuries to others in 2010, a 19-year-old Fadhli Shas grabbed his opportunity with both hands as Malaysia rebounded from an opening-day loss to create history. 

After advancing to the final, Malaysia defeated Indonesia to win their first title. Fadhli has held onto the position ever since and narrowly missed out on a second winners’ medal in 2014.

Mohammad Nasuha, Indonesia (Vote Winner)

Fans love nothing more than a warrior, and Mohammad Nasuha was exactly that for Indonesia in 2010 when, head swathed in bloodied bandages, the left-back played through the pain.

The Garuda won five on the bounce to progress to a final against Malaysia. Nasuha scored in the second leg, but Indonesia eventually finished as runners-up. 

Midfielders
Full voting results here
Chris Greatwich, Philippines

Chris Greatwich (below, right) was part of a group of Philippines players that launched the country’s ascension to a side that would eventually secure qualification to its first AFC Asian Cup.

The midfielder’s best moments came in 2010 when he scored against Singapore and holders Vietnam as the Azkals advanced to their first of three successive semi-final appearances.

Safiq Rahim, Malaysia

At just 23 years of age, Safiq Rahim captained Malaysia to their first Suzuki Cup final since the inaugural edition in 1996, before lifting the trophy after seeing off Indonesia.

A stylish midfielder, Safiq netted a tournament-leading six goals in the 2014 competition as his side narrowly missed out on a second title following defeat to Thailand in the final.

Firman Utina, Indonesia (Vote Winner)

The third Indonesian to be included in the line-up, attacking midfielder Firman Utina possessed defence-splitting vision and the ability to take on the opposition rearguard.

A runner-up in 2004, Firman was at his best in 2010 when he was named Suzuki Cup MVP; however, the tournament ended in heartache as the Garuda again finished second.

Chanathip Songkrasin, Thailand

It’s little exaggeration to say that Japan-based Chanathip Songkrasin is the modern-day star of Southeast Asian football, having picked up successive Suzuki Cup MVP awards. 

“Messi Jay” dazzled as Thailand won their fourth title in 2014, before the attacking midfielder returned two years later to again produce the goods as the War Elephants retained their crown.

Strikers
Full voting results here
Noh Alam Shah, Singapore

The Suzuki Cup’s all-time leading scorer with 17 goals, Noh Alam Shah’s 10 in 2007 is the highest tally for a tournament, while his seven against Laos that year is the most scored in a single game.

The striker netted crucial goals in the 2004 and 2007 knockout rounds as Singapore won back-to-back titles in what was a golden period for the Lion City. 

Teerasil Dangda, Thailand

Only Noh Alam Shah has scored more Suzuki Cup goals than Teerasil Dangda, who, with 15 to his name, is still going strong and will be aiming to edge in front later this year.

The prolific marksman was joint top scorer in 2008 before claiming the accolade to himself in 2012. A tournament-leading six in 2016 capped his best performance as Thailand added a fifth title.

Bambang Pamungkas, Indonesia (Vote Winner)

Still playing club football at the ripe old age of 38, Bambang Pamungkas is one of the greatest players Indonesia has ever produced.

The striker was top scorer as his country came second in 2002, before he picked up another runners-up medal in 2010. In total, Bambang has netted 12 times in the Suzuki Cup. 

 

And just for fun, here's how the Suzuki Cup legends could line up. A solid back three sit just in front of Kurnia, with an dazzling diamond in midfield and a terrifying trio boasting supreme goal scoring talent up front – a team that would undoubtedly excite!

Photos: Getty Images

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