Malaysia hosts 39th Merdeka football tournament

The 39th Merdeka football tournament sponsored and organised by the Football Association of Malaysia will be held from 20-29 August and will feature five teams from South East Asia, two from Africa and one from South Asia. Myanmar, Laos, Lesotho and host Malaysia U-23 are in Group A and Bangladesh, Indonesia U-23, Singapore and Zimbabwe are in Group B. The tourmament, starting in 1957 to commemorate the independence of Malaya (later to merge with Sarawak and Sabah in North Borneo to form Malaysia) is the oldest in the ASEAN region. Myanmar is the defending champion of the tournament, triumphing in the 38th Merdeka football tournament at the Shah Alam Stadium in Malaysia in August 2006 after beating Indonesia 2-1 in the final.