Pestabola to attract strong teams
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are optimistic that the upcoming Pestabola Merdeka 2019 will feature strong teams.
FAM secretary-general, Stuart Ramalingam, said the tournament will take place in March, during the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) calendar. This is so that the teams involved will have a chance to pick up points for their FIFA World Rankings.
“One of the reasons why the Pestabola Merdeka is being held in March 2019 instead of January is because we want it to take place during the FIFA calendar and this will lead to nations sending their best available teams.
“If it takes place outside of the FIFA calendar, it might be difficult for us to get cooperation from the teams that will be competing.
“No matter what, we were planning to have two international friendlies during the FIFA calendar period and even with the participation of four teams, we would be able to run the Pestabola Merdeka.
The FAM have sent out invitations to neighbouring countries but have yet to receive confirmation. The three teams that have been rumored to join are Indonesia, India and Taiwan.
The Pestabola Merdeka was last held in 2013 where Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s Under-23 Harimau Malaya squad were crowned champions following a 2-0 victory over Myanmar’s Under-23 squad.
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