The drawing for AFF Cup 2018 group stage has been done. The drawing is not only decided the group members, but also the home and away schedule, regarding AFF Cup new format.
Indonesia, who are in Group B, will host Philippine and the qualification match winner, which will be Brunei Darussalam or Timor Leste, and will be playing away against Thailand and Singapore. However, Indonesia will use Pakansari and Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium as home turf to host Philippine and Brunei/Timor Leste.
This decision from PSSI is quite surprising as Indonesia usually use Gelora Bung Karno Stadium for international matches. However, Ratu Tisha Destria, PSSI Secretary General, said that Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is still being refurbished after being used for Asian Games.
“Gelora Bung Karno will be refurbished after Asian Games, so it could not be used. Meanwhile, I think the stadium will be ready for the knockout stages. PSSI actually want to hold the home games in Balikpapan (Batakan Stadium), but the opponents usually don’t want to travel away too far,” said Ratu, as cited by Goal Indonesia.
Based on the new format, AFF Cup 2018 will be held without host countries. In the former competitions, AFF Cup was being held in a host country in each group. However, AFF changed the format since the games that didn’t involve the host country didn’t attract many attendances.