Philippines and Laos will face off in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup after both sides were put together in Group B in Wednesday’s draw.
The tournament, which offers a spot at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup to the eventual champions, kicks off on May 19 in Maldives and the eight sides vying for the crown were handed their group-stage fate on Wednesday.
The Azkals, who finished third in the previous edition, were pitted against fellow Southeast Asian side Laos, 2012 runners-up Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in Group B.
Philippines met the Turkmen in last year’s qualifiers and beat them 1-0 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium thanks to Phil Younghusband’s 67th-minute winner, although they now have a new coach at the helm after Thomas Dooley was appointed as the successor to Michael Weiss.
Over in Group A, Myanmar coach Radojko Avramovic will be aware his side face a tough challenge after being drawn alongside hosts Maldives, Krygyzstan and Maldives.
Avramovic, who was only recently confirmed as the new boss of the White Angels, will be looking to make his mark on the continental stage, having enjoyed plenty of success in Southeast Asia with Singapore after winning three AFF Suzuki Cup titles.
The group stage kicks off on May 19 with the top two sides qualifying for the semi-finals, before the champions will be decided in the final on May 30.
2014 AFC Challenge Cup Draw
Group A: Maldives, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar
Group B: Afghanistan, Philippines, Turkmenistan, Laos