Pestabola Merdeka set to make a return after 10-year absence

PETALING JAYA: Pestabola Merdeka is set to make a comeback this October after a 10-year lapse with nations like India, Palestine, and Lebanon coming to challenge the national team.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin in confirming this, said it is time to organise the event now after the last time the tournament was held in 2013.

An earlier plan to hold it in 2020 had to be abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also said this year’s Pestabola Merdeka will be held on a smaller scale using Thailand’s King’s Cup format.

“We will be conducting the Pestabola Cup draw (to determine the first match) and the winning team will go to the final, which means each team will play two matches according to FIFA standards to earn ranking points.

“We know that fans really want the Pestabola Merdeka tournament (playing) 10 to 15 days but the FIFA calendar is too busy with lots of major tournaments during that time,” he said at a press conference after chairing the seventh meeting of the 2021-2025 FAM Executive Committee Meeting at Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya.Pestabola Merdeka is almost certain to be played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil and it will be the venue to test the use of the new pitch with Zeon Zoysia grass.

Malaysia emerged as the team with the most Pestabola Merdeka wins with 12 titles including winning the last tournament since first started in 1957. — Bernama

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