The annual merdeka (freedom) football tournament opened in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, yesterday (Thursday).?
The annual merdeka (freedom) football tournament opened in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, yesterday (Thursday). The Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who started the tournament 12 years ago to mark Malaya's Independence from the British, was present to see teams from eight countries march into the stadium. The participating countries are Burma, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Western Australia and the host country.
Since its inception in 1957, the tournament has been held in the month of August. But this year due to the racial disturbances, necessitating the imposition of a curfew, it had to be postponed to October 30th.
The Tunku, in a message of welcome to the teams, said it was unfortunate that Japan, South Vietnam, Hongkong and Taiwan could not take part in this year's tournament "because of other commitments".
Concluding, the Tunku said that the holdings of this year's tournament was due to the "understanding and co-operation of all our Asian football friends."