Malaysia are set to kick off their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in the first round for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) region.

The Harimau Malaya, who have never reached any World Cup finals, fell one place down to 168th in the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday.

They suffered the drop largely due to a 1-0 loss to Singapore at last month's Airmarine Cup, despite beating Afghanistan 2-1 at the same tournament.

It also cemented their position as one of Asia's 12 bottom teams, finishing below the likes of Singapore (160th) and Nepal (161st) and consigning them to the preliminary round draw, which will be held on April 17th.

Cambodia, Macau, Laos, Bhutan, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Guam, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste, Pakistan and Sri Lanka made up the other 11 teams.

Only six of those teams will advance to the second round.

It will be Malaysia's 11th time in 13 editions to start their World Cup qualifying campaign from the first round since 1974.

Out of the 11 times, they only made it to the second round once in 2014 when they overcame Chinese Taipei on away goals.

The qualifying process, four rounds in total, will also see the first two rounds double as the qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.