Friday, October 10, 2008


Merdeka Cup

Thursday October 9, 2008
Sathia sees the bright side of Merdeka tourney
PETALING JAYA: Hosts Malaysia have been placed in Group A with Sierra Leone, Nepal and Afghanistan for the 40th Merdeka Tournament, which will be held at the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya from Oct 15-25.
Mozambique, ranked 102nd on the FIFA list, will be the top draw card in Group B with Myanmar, Bangladesh and Vietnam. The Group B matches will be held at the Shah Alam Stadium.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said they were unable to get some of the higher ranked teams from the Asean region, like Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia, due to their ongoing domestic competitions.
“The Merdeka Tournament was postponed from its original date in August due to the Beijing Olympics. The fasting month followed and we had no choice but to hold it this month,” said Azzuddin after announcing the teams and the groupings at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
He assured that all the invited teams would send their national teams and confirmed that Afghanistan would include several of their German-based players for the tournament.
National coach B. Sathianathan was not bothered with the lower quality fare offered in this year’s tournament, saying he would use it to their best advantage.
“You can forget about teams like Japan or South Korea coming here nor can we be playing English Premier League giants Manchester United or Chelsea every time,” said Sathianathan.
He said that his main task for the year was to prepare the national team for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in December.
“I do not have much information on the teams but there will be no let-up from our side. I want to see full commitment from my players and I want them to fight for their places,” he said.
Sathianathan has 30 players in camp and would put the team to a final test match against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow (6.30pm).
The Merdeka Tournament winners will receive US$10,000 and the runners-up US$5,000.
Tickets are priced at RM10 for the preliminary rounds and RM20 for the knock-out stages.
Tickets will be sold on match days at the respective venues from 4pm. There will be two matches played daily at 6.30pm and 8.45pm.
Last year, Malaysia emerged champions after beating Myanmar 3-1 in the final.

It's like pulling teeth trying to get info from Malaysia. Taken from the Star

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