malaysia vs timor-leste
Photo credit: ActiveSG

Malaysia had an easy win against Timor-Leste in the recent first leg of the 2022 World Cup 1st Round Qualifiers.

Playing at home, Malaysia were expected to win against Timor-Leste, but no one expected them to win with a 7-1 margin.

Recently, Timor-Leste’s head coach had revealed that his side consisted of inexperienced young players and that had caused the embarrassing defeat to Malaysia.

Malaysia, happy with the win, however, should know that Timor-Leste is new to professional football and hence why they shouldn’t use the victory against Timor Leste as a yard stick of their football quality.

That said, here’s some facts about the new nation.

Timor-Leste football league started in 2016

Timor-Leste only started their professional football league in 2016.  This means the league is barely three years old to date.  Named Liga Futebol Amadora (LFA), the league only has two divisions which consist of 20 teams.  The main division has eight teams while the rest plays in the second division.  Out of the 20 teams, 15 of the teams come from Dili.

Timor-Leste fielded ‘import players’ and got caught

During the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Timor-Leste got through the first round by defeating Mongolia 5-1.  However, the small nation was found guilty of falsifying birth documents of nine of its Brazil born players prompting FIFA to nullify all match results involving the nation during the competition.  To make matters worse, Timor-Leste was also barred from participating in the qualification tournament for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

Best result in a competition

Timor-Leste played their first international football match on 21 March 2003 following their independence from Indonesia in 2002.  The 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification match saw Timor-Leste go down to Colombo 2-3.  Results from then on were not impressive but Timor-Leste did shine during the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup qualification where they defeated Cambodia and Laos in the competition. The two victories however failed to make them the top two of the competition, coming in third behind Myanmar and Laos.

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This article is brought to us by our Sports Writers Club resident columnist – Cyril Dason.