From the belly of the impressive Aspire Dome, where I had the good fortune of witnessing Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong's golden performance at the Asian Games two years ago, Malaysia were drawn in Group C with 1994 Asian Games gold medallists Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates and India.
Uzbekistan will start as the favourites, having given Malaysia a lesson with a 5-0 thrashing in the AFC Asian Cup finals last year. Dynamo Kyiv attacker Maksim Shatskikh is young enough to spearhead their attack again.
The fickle and volatile nature of Middle east football sees a high turnover of coaches and it remains to be seen if Metsu, the Michael Bolton of world football, will be charting UAE's fortunes when the qualifiers kick off in January 2009.
India coach Bob Houghton was once shortlisted for the hotseat at Wisma FAM. So he has a lot to prove.
Coach B. Sathianathan has a difficult task ahead!