Former South Korean striker-turned-coach Park Sung Hwa will chart
’s fortunes in the 41st
edition of the Merdeka Tournament which begins from September 7-14 in Kuantan, Pahang. Myanmar
Myanmar squad, captain by Kyaw Zayer Min,
arrived in Kuantan together with the Singapore
and Thailand team on
Thursday for one of Asia’s most prestigious
football tournaments held at the Darul Makmur Stadium.
Myanmar won the Merdeka Tournament three times, emerged runners-up on four occasions and shared the trophy once since the inception of the tournament in 1957, the last being in 2006 following a 2-1 victory over Indonesia in the final.
Appointed by Myanmar FA in 2011, Park has been tasked with coaching both the senior and junior national teams to turn the country’s football fortunes around and has succeeded to a certain extent.
won the bronze medal in the
2011 Sea Games and reached the semi-finals of the Under-19 and Under-16 AFF
The 58-year-old Park, however, is no stranger to the Merdeka Tournament, having first featured for the senior team alongside
other famous footballers - Cha Bum-Kun and Kim Jae Han - in the 1975 final
which the Koreans won 1-0 at Merdeka Stadium. Malaysia
Earlier in the preliminary round of the 1975 Merdeka tournament, Park also scored a goal in
3-1 win over the host’s star-studded squad which included Mokhtar Dahari,
goalkeeper R. Arumugam, defenders Soh Chin Aun and Santokh Singh. He also featured
in the finals of the 1977 and 1978 Merdeka Tournament against South Korea , winning the trophy on both
are strong contenders too for the Merdeka Tournament, naming formidable squads
when registration closed on August 31. Singapore
Thailand Football Association General-Secretary, Worawi Makudi, disclosed that the 20 players who will feature in the 2013 Merdeka Tournament were selected from the recent National Championships and will carry Thailand’s hopes in the Merdeka Tournament.
“We appreciate and thank the Football Association of Malaysia for inviting us to this historical tournament after a lapse of five years. The Merdeka Tournament and
King’s Cup are Asia’s longest surviving
tournaments,” said Worawi.
“We are serious contenders to win the Merdeka Tournament,” he added.
With Izwan Mahbud's safe pair of hands, and the attacking threats from the likes of Faris Ramli, Fazli Ayob and Nazrul Ahmad Nazari; along with the silky skills of forward Shahfiq Ghani, much is expected of Sundramoorthy's side.
Most of the players are already well-drilled in the style and a system that has seen them become the first Singaporean team to lift a Malaysian domestic trophy since a Fandi Ahmad-led
team won the League and Malaysia Cup double in 1994. Singapore
And now they are out to make heads turn in the Merdeka Tournament.