Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s return to the AFC Asian Cup™

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s return to the AFC Asian Cup™ for the first time since they co-hosted the 2007 edition couldn’t have resulted in a tougher draw – with Korea Republic, Jordan and Bahrain their Group E challengers.

Head coach Kim Pan-gon and his team, however, are relishing the challenge of taking on three sides who are all ranked way above the Southeast Asian side.


FIFA World Ranking: 137
Previous Appearances: 3
Best Finish: Group Stage
2019 Result: Did not qualify 
Head Coach: Kim Pan-gon (KOR)
Fun Fact: Prior to co-hosting the 2007 edition, Malaysia’s last appearance in the AFC Asian Cup was in 1980

That Malaysia are a team on the rise is undeniable, with Kim playing a pivotal role in them qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™.

The Southeast Asian side’s recent improvement has seen them surge to 137 in the FIFA World Rankings with their fans starting to believe that Malaysia can make a mark in Qatar 2023. 

Their strong start to the Preliminary Joint Qualification – Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and the AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ will further boost their confidence but Malaysia will have their work cut out in Qatar 2023 with Korea Republic among the pre-tournament favourites for the title.

Bahrain won the most recent competitive encounter between the sides, defeating the Malaysians in the third round of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup, while Jordan are also a team aiming to chart new boundaries in Qatar 2023. 

Malaysia’s Group E fixtures
15 January 
v Jordan (20:30 local time, Al Janoub Stadium)
20 January 
v Bahrain (17:30 local time, Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium)
25 January
v Korea Republic (14:30 local time, Al Janoub Stadium)

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga