India to play in Merdeka Cup, confirms AIFF secretary general

There were uncertainties among Indian football fans regarding India’s participation in the competition but AIFF secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran has squashed the rumours

Shaji Prabhakaran, the secretary general of AIFF, took to Twitter to confirm India’s presence in the revived Merdeka Cup, which is rumoured to be happening this year.

The Malaysian FA, organisers of the tournament, announced the revival of the competition a couple of days back. But, India was not among the rumoured invitees which included Vietnam, Thailand, Syria, and/or Palestine, which left Indian football fans worrying.

The dates and other details regarding the competition have not been announced by the Malaysian FA yet, although there have been rumours which claim that the tournament will take place in September.

India have participated in the tournament multiple times, and have even finished as runners-up in 1959 and 1964 respectively. India lost out on the title narrowingly by finishing with 4 points, just 1 point behind Champions Malaysia in 1959 while the Blue Tigers fell short against Burma in the 1964 Merdeka Cup final.

The Merdeka Cup was founded in 1957 by the Malaysian Football Federation. It was a prestigious tournament among Asian countries because the participants sent their senior teams.The competition started in a round robin format in 1957 and turned into a knockout competition in 1960. It was annually held till 1988, after which its popularity slowly decreased. The final edition of the tournament was held in 2013 and was won by the Malaysian U-23 side.

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