By Khalilul The magic of Malaysia Cup will be in full flow...
Pesta Bola Merdeka is back!
PETALING JAYA: Pesta Bola Merdeka is making a return after it was last held in 2008 at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Malaysia will be hoping to win the tournament this time around after losing out to Vietnam Under-23 side in the final.
Malaysia Under-23 or fondly known as Harimau Muda will be facing the National Under-23 teams of Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar who have confirmed their participation in the eight-day tournament.
For Ong Kim Swee, this tournament is an important preparation for the Under-23 for the SEA Games this year at Myanmar. He will also assess his opponents as they will also be participating in the football tournament of the SEA Games.
The Merdeka Tournament or Pestabola Merdeka, is a football tournament held in honour of the Malaysian National Day. While the tournament had been held annually from 1957 to 1988, it has been held only seven times from 1989 to 2008.
Ticket sales for the 41st edition of the Merdeka Tournament, which will be held from Sept 7-14 at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan, Pahang, will go on sale online tomorrow.
For the early birds, tickets can be purchased via www.ticketpro.com.my. Tickets will also go on sale at the Darul Makmur Stadium from Aug 16-18, and on Aug 26 onwards.
Tickets priced at RM38, RM48, RM68 (east stand reserved), RM128 (grandstand reserved) are for both games on match days, RM209 (season east stand) and RM375 (season grandstand) can be purchased from Ticketpro’s telephone hotline, +6(03)7880-7999, and at Ticketpro’s outlets across Malaysia.
However, the tournament regulations requires that the last preliminary round matches between Malaysia and Thailand to be played at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan, while the Singapore and Myanmar tie is held at the Temerloh Stadium simultaneously on Wednesday, Sept 11. Kick-off time is 8.45pm. Tickets for the match in Temerloh are priced at RM38 and RM28.
“The decision to organise the Merdeka Tournament in Kuantan will provide the opportunity for football fans in Pahang and neighbouring states to witness exciting matches, unlike previous years, when fans had to travel to Kuala Lumpur,” said Merdeka Tournament Organising Committee chairman, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.
“I hope they will take this opportunity to support the Malaysian team, which later this year will be competing in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar. The national team needs all the support from fans in the Merdeka Tournament.”
Lee Choong Khay, Head of Astro Sports Business, said: “In line with our country’s 56th Independence Day, Astro is honoured to bring back Malaysia’s longest running international football competition to all football fans..
“At Astro, we are committed in bringing the best of international and local sports to all Malaysians. The early launch of ticket sales will enable fans to purchase tickets without hassle, especially those staying in other states and also to avoid a rush at the eleventh hour.”
ProEvents International Managing Director, San Boon Wah, believes the revival of the Merdeka Tournament, which was last held in 2008, will provide the national team with another platform to improve its performance.
“Today, we are indeed honoured and delighted to be involved in the promotion of the 41st edition of the Merdeka Tournament – Malaysia’s long standing prestigious football event as this nation of 29 million people celebrate 56 years of independence,” said Boon Wah.