PETALING JAYA: Two school teams from Malaysia will get a shot at qualifying for the inaugural Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) Finals in Portland, Oregon, USA in July this year.
The two finalists of the Under-15 national champion schools tournament at Padang Seri Gelam in Johor from April 27 to May 4, will advance to the regional Finals in Bangkok next month.
The regional Finals will comprise of six teams, with two representatives each from Malaysia, Singapore and hosts Thailand. The champions will proceed to the US.
“The MUPC is a global tournament that provides our young footballers a chance to gain regional and international exposure,” said Sharon Ong, the Nike Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd marketing manager.
“Since our affiliation with Manchester United last year, we hope to provide new avenues for talented players to showcase their passion and dedication to the game.
Sharon said that in line with their global partnership with Manchester United, they planned to hold the final rounds at the “Theatre of Dreams” in Old Trafford in England from next year.
The champion schools tournament, organised by the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) since 2000, will now be called the Manchester United Premier Cup. A total of 1,200 boys from 144 schools will be involved in the tournament, which starts from the inter-school, inter-zone and finally to the national inter-state finals.
Mohsin Salim, the principal assistant director of the sports division of the Education Ministry, said: “We are glad that there are new sponsors coming to promote sports. We hope with the new, more glamorous name, players will be motivated to excel in the game.''
The teams, divided into four groups are Negri Sembilan, Sabah, Perak (Group A); Kedah, Malacca, Sarawak, Johor (Group B); Terengganu, Kelantan, Penang (Group C); Selangor, Perlis, Pahang, Kuala Lumpur (Group D).