Polking: Reclaiming AFF Suzuki Cup is Thailand's clear target

Thailand coach Alexander Polking is embracing the burden of expectations at the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 by agreeing that winning the tournament has to be their target.

With five previous titles to their names, the War Elephants are the most-successful team in AFF history and were long regarded as Southeast Asia's premier side until recently being overtaken by Vietnam -- who emerged triumphant at the last edition in 2018.

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While Polking claims it is not about getting one back at Vietnam, the Brazilian-German did concede that a side of Thailand's quality has to be aiming to go all the way.

"Yes, we are motivated. We know the prestige of this tournament and we have a clear target to get the trophy -- that's why we are here," Polking said at Saturday's pre-tournament press conference, when asked by ESPN if the mission was to reassert themselves as the region's top team.

"We know Thailand have a good history in past editions and that Vietnam is the current champions, but I don't want to make this only about Thailand and Vietnam. We have ten countries fighting for the same goal.

"Many things can happen. We just need to stay focused. We're training well, we feel strong and confident and we have the players that we want, but it's a long way to go."

Thailand, who kick off their Group A campaign against Timor-Leste on Sunday, are the clear favourites to finish top, with hosts Singapore, Myanmar and Philippines expected to battle it out for the second semifinal berth.

Despite having home advantage, Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida is refusing to make bold prediction on his side's chances to go far and is only focusing on Sunday's opener against Myanmar.

"Although we are the hosts, we cannot easily say that we can become the champions," explained the Japanese.

"Right now, the most important game is our first match against Myanmar. We don't have any targets and will just take each game as it comes."