Pakistan players celebrate their Division 3 win in the 2022 Asian Championships. Picture: Supplied

PAKISTAN will be looking to build on its successful first outing at the Asian Championships and Papua New Guinea will be gunning for a third successive Division 1 title when the 2023 edition of the regional titles kicks off this Saturday in Thailand.

More than 500 players making up 14 men's teams and eight women's teams from 12 different countries will converge on the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club in Chon Buri to battle it out.


The PNG Muruks have claimed the past two Division 1 men's titles (held in 2019 and 2022), while Singapore and Malaysia will aim to become the first countries to win multiple women's titles, with Singapore the defending women's titleholders.

Pakistan will also be looking for a strong showing in the Division 2 men's comp, having claimed the Division 3 title in their debut championships in 2022. The Pakistan women's team will also be competing for the first time, highlighting the growth of the game in south Asia.

Thailand Tigers players in action during the 2022 Asian Championships. Picture: Supplied

The event isn't just about the action on the field. The Thailand Tigers squad run language and footy sessions with children from the Khlong Toey community in Bangkok, and some of those kids will travel to Chon Buri to officiate as goal and boundary umpires during the championships.

As well as running activities for the kids, the Tigers help to fund education programs that aim to improve the students' employment opportunities.

The Asian Championships have been running since 1999, with Singapore and Hong Kong the most successful men's nations with six Division 1 titles each. The women's championships have been held since 2018 with Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia all claiming victory in the three completed events.

An Indonesian Volcanoes player in action against the Vietnam Swans at the 2022 Asian Championships. Picture: Supplied