Reigning Malaysia Cup champions Pahang have been handed a tricky route to the knockout round after being drawn in Group A alongside LIONSXII, FELDA United and Johor Darul Ta’zim II.
Tok Gajah, who beat Kelantan 1-0 in last year’s final to claim their third title, are looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to their Super League campaign.
Although they spent much of the campaign looming as genuine contenders, they ultimately had to settle for a third-place finish after winning just three of their last ten matches.
And while many believe they have what it takes to mount a credible bid to retain the Malaysia Cup, they will need to be at their best after being pitted against a number of strong contenders.
FELDA United are looming as a major threat given their strong displays in the Premier League this season which saw them earn promotion, and they also gave Pahang a real scare before ultimately losing 2-1 in the final of the FA Cup back in June.
While LIONSXII have been far from impressive in 2013 after winning the Super League last term, they could still pose a threat along with JDT II.
Newly-crowned Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim have also been handed tough tests after being drawn in Group C, where they will face off against Kelantan, ATM and Premier League outfit Penang.
Over in Group B, Terengganu and Sarawak will be the early favourites to advance to the quarter-finals, although Perak and Kedah have the ability to cause an upset.
Finally, Group D will see Selangor, Sime Darby, PDRM and T-Team lock horns.
2014 Malaysia Cup Group Stage Draw
Group A: Pahang, LIONSXII, FELDA United, Johor Darul Ta’zim II
Group B: Terengganu, Sarawak, Perak, Kedah
Group C: Johor Darul Ta’zim, Kelantan, ATM, Penang
Group D: Selangor, Sime Darby, PDRM, T-Team