PETALING JAYA (6 April 2016) – The FA of Malaysia (FAM) and MP & Silva have announced the launch of a new international age-group football tournament where Malaysia will be the inaugural host country of the Nations Cup.
Organised by leading sports agency MP & Silva, the Nations Cup aims to be an annual tournament that provides high-quality competition for national football teams in Asia. With the goal of promoting international football in the region, the Nations Cup will complement the current international football calendar leading up to the Southeast Asia Games in 2017.
The first edition will take place on 3 & 5 June 2016 at Malacca’s Hang Jebat Stadium, and feature Under-21 teams where Malaysia will play host to Thailand, the current SEA Games football champion, neighbours Singapore and bronze-medallists, Vietnam.
The top two teams will advance to the final after the conclusion of the preliminary round matches.
Fans in Asia can expect to witness the rise of up-and-coming football stars in action as a preview to the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup and South-east Asia Games 2017 that will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
Datuk Hamidin Amin, the General Secretary of FAM said: “the Nations Cup will be of great challenge to our national team. The players will face strong opposition especially from Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore, which is part of the team’s preparation for the SEA Games. This tournament is just the beginning in our plans for the national team.”
Said Beatrice Lee, MP & Silva’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific: “the Nations Cup is more than just a regional football tournament. We view this as MP & Silva’s long-term investment in the region to cultivate the spirit of competitive football from a young age. Football has a legacy longer than any sport, and we are proud of this initiative to ensure that the sport continues to grow in Asia.”
Said Zainudin Nordin, President of the FA of Singapore (FAS) : “we are pleased to announce our participation in the Nations Cup, which offers our youth development squad the opportunities we are looking at to compete and graduate to the elite level. It is important for our National Teams, including age-group National Teams, to participate in more international matches and quadrangular competitions which will allow our players to obtain the required level of international exposure.”
Said Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, President of the FA of Thailand (FAT): “we are pleased to be involved in the first Nations Cup, which offers our youth development squad the opportunity to compete and graduate to the elite level. Our technical team welcomes the additional exposure at an international event for our under-21 team and we hope to be part of it on a regular basis in the future.”
Said Lê Hùng Dũng, President of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF): “Asia needs more tournaments like the Nations Cup to develop budding footballers. This is a great opportunity for our players to show why they deserve a call-up to the senior team and it is integral that our young players are exposed to the different footballing styles from a young age as it helps to develop their football acumen.”